PLO Negotiations Support Unit survives leaks

The EU-funded unit, rumored to have been dismantled, has been providing PLo negotiators with legal and technical advice.

The PLO’s Negotiations Support Unit is continuing to operate despite reports that it has been dismantled, a spokeswoman for the unit said over the weekend.
“We are continuing to work and don’t know about any decision to close down the unit,” she said.
The EU-funded unit has been providing PLO negotiators with legal and technical advice. It has at least 25 employees.
Earlier this week, some employees of the NSU claimed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had decided to disband the unit following the leaking of thousands of documents to Al-Jazeera.
The PA believes that members of the unit stole the documents, which detail the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The leaked documents have seriously embarrassed the PA leadership, which has been accused of making far-reaching concessions to Israel on the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.
Despite the denial, a senior PA official said that the PLO Executive Committee had recommended Abbas shut down the unit because of the leaks.
The official told The Jerusalem Post that the Negotiations Support Unit, established in 1999, would be dismantled by the end of the month.
He added that since the peace talks with Israel were frozen, there was no longer any need for the unit.
The leaked documents have led to the resignation of Saeb Erekat, the chief PLO negotiator. Erekat said he decided to submit his resignation to Abbas because he was responsible for the theft of the documents from his office.
However, the PA official told the Post that Abbas has yet to accept Erekat’s resignation.