Al-Jazeera and The Guardian have published a massive cache of Palestine/Israel-related documents from inside the Palestinian Authority.The story is this: In 2008-2009, Palestinian leaders offered what appears to be a very large concession to Israel in terms of territory, but the offer was rebuffed.
In addition to showing apparent Israel intransigence, the story also indicates a disconnect between Palestinian leaders and the Palestinian people, and the broader Arab world consensus.
The overall impression that emerges from the documents, which stretch from 1999 to 2010, is of the weakness and growing desperation of PA leaders as failure to reach agreement or even halt all settlement temporarily undermines their credibility in relation to their Hamas rivals; the papers also reveal the unyielding confidence of Israeli negotiators and the often dismissive attitude of US politicians towards Palestinian representatives.
Palestinian and Israeli officials both point out that any position in negotiations is subject to the principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” and therefore is invalid without a overarching deal. But PA leaders are likely to be embarrassed by the revelation of private concessions that go far beyond what much of their population would regard as acceptable – particularly since Mahmoud Abbas’s mandate as Palestinian president expired in 2009.
And here’s Mideast analyst Robert Grenier, writing in Al-Jazeera:
The Palestinian leadership will surely face criticism for what The Palestine Papers reveal. Some will be merited; some not. The overwhelming conclusion one draws from this record is that the process for a two-state solution is essentially over, that the history of the peace process is one of abject failure for all concerned. The Palestinian participants, having lost the most, will likely suffer most. But I can only come away with the passionately-held belief that these people deserved better.
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