In a move that upstaged the WikiLeaks cables, the Al-Jazeera website began a
three-day release late Sunday night of the largest-ever immediate publication of
confidential documents relating to the last 11 years of Israeli-Palestinian
In a note to its readers, Al-Jazeera said it would not
reveal the source of the 1,684 documents, which it dubbed “The Palestine
Papers.” The documents cover the negotiating period from 1999, before the Oslo
process broke down in Camp David, up to the frozen peace talks in
“Taken in total, The Palestine Papers instigate a broader
conversation on such issues as whether a two-state endgame is achievable and
desirable and whether international and US-led processes to reach that goal have
only deepened Israeli occupation,” Al-Jazeera told readers.
to publish 275 sets of meeting minutes, 690 internal e-mails, 153 reports and
studies, 134 sets of talking points and prep notes for meetings, 64 draft
agreements, 54 maps, charts and graphs, and 51 “non-papers.”
Most of the
documents, it explained, are in English, because that is the language in which
the negotiations have been conducted.
Already, it has posted five sets of
minutes from 2008: the June 15 trilateral meetings among the US, Israel and
Palestine; a May 29 meeting on territory; a May 4 meeting on borders with PA
chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei and former
foreign minister Tzipi Livni; a May 21 Post- Annapolis Plenary Session on
Territory; and an August 31 meeting in which former prime minister Ehud Olmert
made a “package” offer to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Papers were shared exclusively with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which
published its own package of the documents late Sunday night as well.
Guardian said the records and transcripts had been drawn up by officials from
the Palestinian negotiation support unit, which was the main technical and legal
backup for the Palestinians.
Other documents, it said, originated inside the PA’s extensive US and
British-sponsored security apparatus.
“The documents were leaked over a
period of months from several sources to Al-Jazeera. The bulk of them have been
independently authenticated for the Guardian by former participants in the talks
and by diplomatic and intelligence sources,” the newspaper said in a note to