The Palestine Papers

Almost 1 week ago, The Guardian and Al-Jazeera released what has been dubbed “The Palestine Papers. Consisting of over 1,000 documents, the papers give a unique insight into the peace process.

Many of you may already view the peace process as a joke. I particularly like Ali Abunimah’s “Pizza Analogy”:

The Papers brought to light not only the extent to which the PA has offered compromises which go against the principles of their public stance against settlements, but also the  intransigence of the Israeli negotiators.

The papers document  the Chief PLO Negotiators, offering the Israeli’s the chance to annex all the settlements in Jerusalem (except Jabal Abu Ghneim) and the Wailing Wall. This would mean that Israel would control all of those settelements, which are (according to the UN) illegal. According to the Israeli’s this was not enough. The following video examins this further.

Note the exchange between Condaleeza Rice and PLO Negotiator Qurei, concerning the Settlement of Ma’ale Adumim:

Rice: I don’t think that any Israeli leader is going to cede Ma’ale Adumim.

Qurei: Or any Palestinian leader.

Rice: Then you won’t have a state!

This shows how the US behaves as an “honest broker”. For Israel to keep settlements such as Ma’ale Adumim, it would mean a future Palestinian State would have no contiguity. So it’s good to know that the US supports (unless Obama has changed this stance radically) a Bantustan for the Palestinians.

Amjad Atallah, the Co-Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation,  provided some astute analysis on The Real News. There is a section (from 8:46) where Atallah really nails it:

“And I think the hardest question for a Palestinian negotiator to respond to now–you can argue that, okay, well, we negotiated with the Israelis for one year, for two years, for five years, for ten years in the hopes that the Israeli government would provide us with freedom and independence. After 20 years of negotiations, after 20 years of these negotiations in which the Palestinians have, one can argue, provided more concessions than they could actually pass with their public, have offered more concessions than many Israeli supporters in the United States would ever have imagined, have provided more concessions, and the Israelis have still said no, then I think the question to the Palestinian negotiating team is: so why continue negotiating?”

Check it out here.

Al Jazeera English has an excellent 3 part talk with Ali Abunimah, Shlomo Ben-Ami and Daud Abdullah.



It seems that Shlomo Ben-Ami is more interested in proving that Erakat’s stance is nothing new among the PA’s negotiators, rather than taken issue with whether or not it is right, fair or even legal to demand someone else’s territory.

I thought Ali Abunimah was the most reasonable of the speakers. In particular I’d like to draw the readers attention to something he said, which should not be overlooked:

“This is occupied territory, Holy or not. Under International Law Israel has no right, whatsoever, to the Haram Al-Sharif. Not because it’s holy land, but because it’s occupied territory and Israel has seized it by force.”

This goes for ALL occupied land.