Al Jazeera publishes bombshell leak concerning the peace process; ex-CIA official ‘The overwhelming conclusion one draws from this record is that the process for a two-state solution is essentially over’

Israel/Palestine

Today, al-Jazeera has obtained a cache of nearly 1,700 confidential  files – memos, e-mails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high level exchanges, strategy papers and even power point presentations – dealing with the so-called peace process from 1999 to 2010. Al Jazeera has shared them with the Guardian (UK), and both organizations today began posting and and analyzing them.

The Palestinian Authority comes off looking particularly bad, or in the words of the Guardian “weak – and increasingly desperate.” Writing in the Guardian, Karma Nabulsi says this leak should mark the end of the PA:

It’s over. Given the shocking nature, extent and detail of these ghastly revelations from behind the closed doors of the Middle East peace process, the seemingly endless and ugly game is now, finally, over. Not one of the villains on the Palestinian side can survive it. With any luck the sheer horror of this account of how the US and Britain covertly facilitated and even implemented Israeli military expansion – while creating an oligarchy to manage it – might overcome the entrenched interests and venality that have kept the peace process going. A small group of men who have polluted the Palestinian public sphere with their private activities are now exposed.
It seems they won’t go down without a fight. So far PA officials are choosing to shoot the messenger and are claiming Al-Jazeera has declared war on Palestinians.
 
ajmap
A Palestinian rendition of the “napkin offer” Olmert made to Palestinian negotiators on a final land swap proposal. (Credit: Al Jazeera English)
We will be dissecting the documents and following the fallout in days to come. There will be plenty more to discuss – Haaretz is reporting that a document will released in coming days outlining “an Israeli offer to transfer Israeli Arabs citizens to the territory of a future Palestinian state.” One of the quick responses is that this seems to mark the end of what has been known as the peace process. Writing on the Al-Jazeera English website ex-CIA official Robert L. Grenier says “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.”
 
Here are some summary observations from the Guardian: 

 
- ”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”
 
-“Livni is recorded confirming what Palestinians have always accused Israeli governments of doing: creating facts on the ground to prevent the possibility of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

At a west Jerusalem meeting in November 2007, she told Qurei that she believed Palestinians saw settlement building as meaning “Israel takes more land [so] that the Palestinian state will be impossible”; that “the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’lll say that is impossible, we already have the land and we cannot create the state”. She conceded that had been “the policy of the government for a really long time”.

 
– “The documents reveal Palestinian Authority leaders often tipping over into making ingratiating appeals to their Israeli counterparts, as well as US leaders. “I would vote for you,” the then senior Palestinian negotiator, Ahmed Qureia (also known as Abu Ala), told Tzipi Livni, Israel‘s foreign minister, during talks at the King David hotel in Jerusalem in June 2008, as she was preparing for elections in her Kadima party. Given the choice, Livni shot back, “you don’t have much of a dilemma.”

Qureia’s comment echoed earlier private remarks by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), to Ariel Sharon in a June 2005 meeting at the then Israeli prime minister’s residence which would have caused outrage if they had been made known at the time.

Having listened to Sharon berate him for failing to crack down on the “terrorist infrastructure” of Hamas and Islamic jihad, Abbas was recorded as noting “with pleasure the fact that Sharon considered him a friend, and the fact that he too considered Sharon a friend”, adding that “every bullet that is aimed in the direction of Israel is a bullet aimed at the Palestinians as well”. In March 2008, the documents show that Qureia greeted the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, with the words: “You bring back life to the region when you come.””

-“‎All the US government was interested in, Erekat went on, was “PR, quick news, and we’re cost free”, ending up with the appeal: “What good am I if I’m the joke of my wife, if I’m so weak?””

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