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
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
- 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
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,
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," haaretz.com, August 14, 2011
Abbas to head interim Palestinian government," BBC News, February 6, 2012