The ”Palestine Papers”
Vol: 112 Issue: 25 Tuesday, January 25, 2011
On Sunday, the British daily newspaper, The Guardian, working in partnership with al Jazeera began publishing leaked cables and other secret diplomatic documents obtained by al Jazeera and dating from 1999 to 2010.
The “Palestine Papers” published by Al Jazeera and The Guardian allow those interested in the peace process an unprecedented glimpse into how the talks between Israel and the Palestinians were conducted.
This is the first publication of minutes of talks held by the Kadima government with the Palestinian Authority. What is revealed is not merely the positions of the parties and the gaps between them, but also the jokes and proposals never meant to see the light.
Israel’s Far Left Ha’aretz has evidently not only decided to accept the leaked documents uncritically, but it is prepared to offer its editorial opinion about what it says is really going on. And of course, the villains are the Israeli and American governments.
The documents show that contrary to the “no-partner” image perpetuated by Israelis, the Palestinians were holding serious negotiations on the borders of their future state and that they produced a detailed map of territorial exchanges in the West Bank and neighborhood partitions in East Jerusalem.
Actually, the leaked documents appear designed to undercut the Palestinian Authority’s credibility as much as they are likely to damage Israel’s.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, there are five documents in particular that are ‘making waves.’
Palestinian Land Concessions: According to the Al Jazeera documents, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in 2008 proposed allowing Israel to keep almost all of its East Jerusalem settlements in a final deal. The only exception was the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa. Mr. Erekat described the concessions as “historic” but got a negative response from Tzipi Livni, then Israel’s foreign minister.
Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount: [Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb] Erekat tells Mitchell that the Palestinians are also willing to cede control of the Jewish and Armenian Quarters of the Old City, which surrounds the religious sites, to Israel.
The Palestinian “Right of Return:” The claim is that either the Palestinians proposed that only 10,000 refugees would be required to be allowed to return, or 10,000 a year for 10 years. Whether it’s 10,000 or 100,000 in the end, it would be another major concession.
Palestinian Partner For Peace: Israel and its supporters have typically described members of the Palestinian leadership as unreliable peace partners, saying they rarely make meaningful concessions. But the portrait emerging from the Al Jazeera documents is one of a string of concessions from the Palestinian side that led nowhere and an increasingly frustrated and desperate Abbas. That frustration extends to the US.
Bibi Won’t Take My Calls: In January 2010 Erekat complained to US diplomat David Hale that he couldn’t get Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take phone calls from Abbas. . . Erekat asks Hale to get the US to forcefully express support for a state based on the 1967 borders “with agreed swaps” and complains that he’s being given the cold-shoulder by the Israeli side. Referring to Palestinian offers to Israel, he says: “What is in that paper gives them the biggest Jerusalem in Jewish history, symbolic number of refugees return, demilitarized state… What more can I give?”
Indeed, if one is to take these leaks at face value (Palestinian officials insist that some of the documents are fake) then the picture that emerges is one of Palestinian officials making all the concessions while Israel makes none at all.
So Hamas and the greater Arab world have been ‘had’ by the Palestinian Authority, who sold out the Arab cause by making all the concessions.
And the US has been ‘had’ by the evil, perfidious Israelis who never really wanted peace in the first place.
The leaks are being selectively doled out by al Jazeera – no friend to the Palestinian Authority, and by the UK Guardian – no friend to Israel. They are being interpreted by Ha’aretz – which, typical of the Left, invariably sides with the perceived underdog without regard to the facts as they exist.
So rather than the leaked secret cables clarifying the actual situation as it exists, the leaks allow the media to shape the story according to their preferred worldview. So al-Jazeera paints the Palestinian Authority as the villain while the British assassinate Israel’s character.
The Australian picked up on al Jazeera’s narrative:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, were attempting to fend off anger yesterday from their militant rival, Hamas, and their own party, Fatah, over claims they had “sold out” Palestinians in their eagerness to achieve a peace deal.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has used the release of hundreds of documents by Arab television network al-Jazeera to argue their opposition to negotiations with Israel is justified. Hamas said the documents proved the Palestinian Authority was “attempting to liquidate the Palestinian cause”.
What is fascinating about the reaction is that if the leaks are true, the Palestinian Authority is under fire from all quarters for being sincere about seeking peace. Conversely, it is Israel that is the stumbling-block to peace.
All that is necessary for one to buy that assessment of the situation is a frontal lobotomy and/or total ignorance of Middle East history.
IF one takes the position (as do the media outlets quoted in today’s briefing) that Israel stole the land from the Palestinians, then everything that proceeds from that point forward is fruit of the poisoned tree.
From there, it is easy to forget that the Balfour Declaration predated the creation of every other state in the modern Middle East. And that the 1947 UN Partition Plan which would have created a Palestinian State side-by-side with Israel was rejected by the Arab side in favor of a war of annihilation.
It is easy to forget that the Arab side launched five wars against the Jewish State and that is how Israel ended up with the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan. The Arab side gambled and lost and now they want their bets back.
It is easy to forget that Israel entered into the Oslo Agreement from a position of strength and that it has surrendered almost fifty percent of what had been its territory since, in exchange for a peace that never materialized.
It is easy to forget the actual history because it is so easy to hate Israel. Israel should not exist. Israel was declared to be a nation by the God of the Bible Who also said Israel will remain a nation for as long as the sun shines in the daytime and the moon at night.
The existence of Israel is a visible reminder that God exists and that He remains intimately engaged in the affairs of men.
Israel’s existence screams that man is not sovereign on this earth. The powers that be hope to use the destruction of Israel to drive a stake through the heart of the myth that the Lord is preparing His return.
If there is no Israel for the Messiah to return to, then Bible prophecy is also a myth. God is not sovereign if He cannot keep His Word. The Enemy wins.
Do I believe that the leaked documents are legitimate? Some of them might be. Even if they ALL are legitimate, they are sourced by Israel’s most intractable enemies, and are selectively being released in order to produce a narrative that fits the agenda.
It is not a question of “Israel, right or wrong” it is an issue of “history, true or false?” and it is a pretty transparent effort to bury actual history under the weight of history as some would prefer it.
The Bible says that in the last days, Israel will find itself so completely and utterly alone and friendless that it will have nowhere to turn in the face of global aggression. It is then that the Lord God of Israel steps in.
“In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:8-10)
We haven’t been ‘had’ by Israel – the leaks show only what Israel’s enemies want to show – that goes without saying. It is an effort to revise historical reality by manipulating current events. It should be transparently obvious, but it won’t be.
Truth is no longer a reflection of reality, but rather a reflection of what people would like reality to look like. That’s just how it is. We are living in the last days before the Return of Christ – the time of Jacob’s Trouble is fast approaching.
Indeed, if we are as far along the timeline as we appear to be, this is exactly what we should have expected.