Veracity of al-Jazeera Leaked Documents Questioned by Palestinians
Top Palestinian officials are doubtful of the veracity of leaked documents that show offers of major concessions to Israel. The documents, obtained by al-Jazeera, suggest the Palestinians offered Israel keeping major parts of illegally occupied East Jerusalem said to be rejected by Israel. Palestinians’ chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the leaks were lies. The BBC said it was unable to verify the documents.
Al-Jazeera says it has 16,076 confidential records of meetings, e-mails, communications between Palestinian, Israeli and US leaders, covering the years 2000-2010. It was leaked that the Palestinians proposed to handover Islamic holy sites to an international committee and limiting returning refugees to 100,000 over ten years. Mr Erekat questioned the authenticity of the leaked documents speaking with al-Jazeera. He questioned why Israel did not sign the accord if the concessions for actually offered. PA president Mahmoud Abbas, who is to attend talks with Egypt President Mubarak on the peace process on January 24, also expressed same doubts
Hamas spokesperson said the leaks revealed the ugly face of the PA and its cooperation with the occupation. It said Fatah was involved in attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause on the issues of refugees and East Jerusalem. They show "the level of the Fatah Authority’s [sic] involvement in attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause, particularly on the issue of Jerusalem and refugees, and its involvement against the resistance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip", Sami Abu Zuhri said, quoted by AFP news agency. Israel occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem on both of the rivals have claims. Israel built settlements for 500,000 settlements that are still continuing.
According to al-Jazeera, in May 2008, Ahmed Qurei, the lead Palestinian negotiator at the time, proposed that Israel annex all Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem except Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim), in a bid to reach a final deal. "This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition," he reportedly said, pointing out that this was a bigger concession than that made at Camp David talks in 2000. "We are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history," Mr Erekat was quoted as saying, using the Hebrew word for Jerusalem. The leaks also purport to show that Palestinian leaders had been "privately tipped off" about Israel’s 2008-2009 war in Gaza, a claim Mr Abbas has denied in the past.
These highly sensitive issues have previously been non-negotiable. But without confirming the veracity of the reports, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had also made concessions, which were themselves rejected by the Palestinians. "He put an offer on the table which called for splitting Jerusalem, he put an offer on the table with territorial swaps which gave, practically, the Palestinians 100% of all territory, and they nevertheless refused him," he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Also the reportedly curt dismissals by some US politicians of Palestinian pleas do not fit with the message of even-handedness that President Obama tried to put across in his 2009 Cairo speech, says the BBC’s Jonny Dymond in Washington.