News / Middle East

    Analysts Say Leaked 'Palestine Papers' Will Impact Prospects for Peace

    Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erakat takes part in a demonstration against the Al-Jazeera satellite channel in the West Bank city of Jericho, January 25, 2011
    Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erakat takes part in a demonstration against the Al-Jazeera satellite channel in the West Bank city of Jericho, January 25, 2011

    Multimedia

    Robert Raffaele

    The release this week by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera of what it calls "The Palestine Papers" has raised more questions about the stalled Mideast peace process, and the possibility of future talks. Palestinian officials are attacking al-Jazeera, accusing the network of a smear campaign although many analysts say the documents seem authentic.  Some experts say blame for the stalled peace process should be shared by all the parties.

    Across the Gaza Strip and the Israeli occupied West Bank, anger over documents that allegedly show Palestinian negotiators willing to grant major concessions to Israel during negotiations in 2008 and 2009.  The documents were released by the Qatar based al-Jazeera television network.

    The documents indicate that the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, was willing to cede almost all of Arab East Jerusalem and mostly give up on the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel.

    Publically, the Palestinian Authority was saying that Palestinian refugees have that right.

    Israel, mostly absent from the documents, is quoted as proposing that areas of the Jewish state with dense populations of Arab citizens should be transferred to the new Palestinian state, a controversial idea.  The lead Palestinian negotiator at the time, Saeb Erekat, claims that some of the documents were made up.

    "I think we are facing the most severe smear campaign in the history of journalism," said Erekat.

    Geoffrey Aronson is with the Foundation for Middle East Peace.  He says the Palestinian Authority, which administers the occupied West Bank, comes off as weak.

    "I think it's readily apparent that the leadership itself isn't terribly confident of its own place," noted Aronson.

    Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations says Palestinian leaders did not honestly inform Palestinians about the negotiations.  

    "One of the unfortunate realities is that the Palestinian leadership was not preparing the people for the concessions that they were willing to make and so those concessions now are appearing as a surprise to the people," said Danin.

    The leaked papers focus on the period of then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when negotiations were making progress.

    But when Benjamin Netanyahu became Israel's prime minister in 2009, analysts say, he insisted on starting over.     

    "As I understand it, the Netanyahu government has yet to respond to repeated U.S. requests for specific policy positions on basic issues. So we're at Square One in that process," added Aronson.

    Last September, the Obama administration hosted direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, aiming for a peace deal within a year.

    Analysts say the U.S. is partly to blame for the failure of those talks because it didn't push hard enough for its own proposals, like an Israeli settlement freeze in the occupied territories.

    "We've suggested ideas that in the end we've proven not to be committed to, i.e. a settlement freeze, which have undermined credibility of our own role, the credibility of the process," explained Aronson.

    In Washington, during an appearance with the Jordanian foreign minister,  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington remains committed to peace and "a two-state solution that will assure security for Israel and realize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own."

    But analysts say reviving peace talks will be difficult now.

    "It's going to be more difficult for President Abbas to return to the negotiating table without very firm conditions being met," noted Danin.

    Aronson says Hamas, the rival group that rules the Gaza Strip, is likely to come out stronger among Palestinians, partly because of the documents.

    Al Jazeera says the files, covering an 11-year period from 1999 to 2010, are the largest leak of confidential documents on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Middle East Peace Timeline

     

     

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora