January 23, 2011
The Guardian (UK)

Secret Papers Reveal Slow Death of Middle East Peace Process

by Seumas Milne and Ian Black

The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East conflict has revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel's annexation of all but one of the settlements built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. This unprecedented proposal was one of a string of concessions that will cause shockwaves among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

A cache of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records covering more than a decade of negotiations with Israel and the US has been obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared exclusively with the Guardian. The papers provide an extraordinary and vivid insight into the disintegration of the 20-year peace process, which is now regarded as all but dead.

The documents - many of which will be published by the Guardian over the coming days - also reveal:

- The scale of confidential concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators, including on the highly sensitive issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

- How Israeli leaders privately asked for some Arab citizens to be transferred to a new Palestinian state.

- The intimate level of covert co-operation between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian Authority.

- The central role of British intelligence in drawing up a secret plan to crush Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

- How Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders were privately tipped off about Israel's 2008-9 war in Gaza.

As well as the annexation of all East Jerusalem settlements except Har Homa, the Palestine papers show PLO leaders privately suggested swapping part of the flashpoint East Jerusalem Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah for land elsewhere.

Most controversially, they also proposed a joint committee to take over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount holy sites in Jerusalem's Old City - the neuralgic issue that helped sink the Camp David talks in 2000 after Yasser Arafat refused to concede sovereignty around the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. . . .


George Bisharat, "Israel and Palestine: A True One-State Solution," Washington Post, September 3, 2010

Gregg Carlstrom, "Introducing The Palestine Papers: Al Jazeera has obtained more than 1,600 internal documents from a decade of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations," AlJazeera, January 23, 2011

Robert Fisk, "A new truth dawns on the Arab world: Leaked Palestinian files have put a region in revolutionary mood," Independent, January 26, 2011

Avi Issacharoff and Barak Ravid, "Palestinian Authority makes it official -- will announce UN bid on September 20,", August 14, 2011

"Mahmoud Abbas to head interim Palestinian government," BBC News, February 6, 2012

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