Al-Jazeera to publish 1,684 documents on Israel-PA talks

"The Palestine Papers" cover the negotiating period from 1999, before the Oslo process broke down in Camp David, up to the frozen peace talks in 2010.

January 24, 2011 06:58
2 minute read.
Netanyahu and Abbas shake hands

peace hand shake abbas netanyahu clinton 311. (photo credit: AP)

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 negotiations.

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 2010.

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“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.

It promised 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.

The Palestine Papers were shared exclusively with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which published its own package of the documents late Sunday night as well.

The 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 readers.

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