(photo credit: AP)
Former Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Saturday that his recent resignation was a “moral act” because he had assumed responsibility for the theft of thousands of documents from his office.“When I submitted my resignation, I considered it
a moral act,” Erekat explained. “It also reflects all what I have been
saying for years, namely that we need to build Palestinian institutions
on the basis of transparency and accountability.”
The classified documents, which detail Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, were later published by the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera TV network, seriously embarrassing Erekat and other Palestinian Authority leaders.
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The Palestinian Authority initially claimed that the documents were forged. Later, however, PA leaders admitted that the documents had been stolen from Erekat's bureau.
Known as The Palestine Papers, the documents allege that the Palestinian negotiators had made far-reaching concessions to Israel on core issues such as the status of Jerusalem and the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees.
He said that his resignation was designed to “sow the seeds of
accountability and transparency for all Palestinian and Arab leaders in
the future.” He described the theft of the documents from his office as a
“major crime,” saying he alone bore responsibility.
Erekat repeated his allegation that Al-Jazeera had distorted the content of the documents.
He added that according to the Al-Jazeera “culture,” people are supposed
to think with their ears and not with their minds. “The base for them
is to lie again and again until the lies becomes a reality,” he said,
referring to the TV station.