French-Palestinian admits to leaking 'Palestine Papers'

Ziyad Clot writes in 'Guardian' op-ed article that he leaked documents to Al-Jazeera because peace talks were a "deceptive farce."

May 14, 2011 20:07
1 minute read.
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A French lawyer of Palestinian descent, formerly part of the PA's Negotiations Support Unit, has revealed himself as at least one of the people who leaked the secret "Palestine Papers," outlining ten years of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

In an opinion article published in the Guardian on Saturday, Ziyad Clot said that his decision to share secret documents with al-Jazeera, which were made public earlier this year, stemmed from his belief that "the 'peace negotiations' were a deceptive farce whereby biased terms were unilaterally imposed by Israel and systematically endorsed by the US and EU."

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Clot described the thinking behind the decision to leak the documents in the Guardian article:

"In full conscience, and acting independently, I later agreed to share some information with al-Jazeera specifically with regard to the fate of Palestinian refugee rights in the 2008 talks. Other sources did the same, although I am unaware of their identity. Taking these tragic developments of the 'peace process' to a wider Arab and western audience was justified because it was in the public interest of the Palestinian people. I had – and still have – no doubt that I had a moral, legal and political obligation to proceed accordingly."

The so-called "Palestine Papers" were hundreds of leaked documents released by Al- Jazeera and the Guardian in January. The documents seriously embarrassed the PA leadership in the West Bank.

Following the release of the documents, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Al-Jazeera of trying to topple his regime.

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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