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Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Palileaks now?

One of the most interesting questions that arises out of what's already known here as Palileaks is who leaked the documents and why now. Here's some speculation.
[Former peace processor Aaron David] Miller suggested that the Palestinians may have leaked the documents in an attempt to counter Israeli claims that they are the obstacle to peace.

"You have to ask yourself the question: why have these documents appeared now? The answer is that the Palestinians, as part of a campaign to gain international support and recognition for the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood and to increase pressure not only on the Israelis but the Americans, have chosen to say to the world: look, it's not so hard.

"Previous Israeli governments were interested in a serious negotiation. So why can't we have one now based on the principles that previous Israeli governments have agreed to?"
The Guardian is coy about the sources of the documents.
The documents – almost all of which are in English, which was the language used by both sides in negotiations – 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.


After the breakdown of the Camp David talks, which Clinton and Israeli leaders blamed on Yasser Arafat and a lack of technical Palestinian preparation, Palestinian leaders went to great lengths to ensure that the fullest records and supporting documents were drawn up for later talks. Among NSU staff, the Arab-American lawyer Zeinah Salahi drew up many of the meeting records, while others were made by the French-Palestinian lawyer Ziyad Clot, author of a book about the negotiations, Il n'y aura pas d'Etat Palestinien (There will be no Palestinian state).

The role of the NSU in the negotiations has caused tensions among West Bank-based Palestinian leaders and officials, and widespread resentment about the salaries paid to its most senior managers, notably Adam Smith International's Andrew Kuhn, who stepped down from running the unit last year.

But as the negotiations have increasingly been seen to have failed, and the Ramallah-based PA leadership has come to be regarded by many Palestinians as illegitimate or unrepresentative, discontent among NSU staff has grown and significant numbers have left. There has also been widespread discontent in the organisation at the scale and nature of concessions made in the talks.


Some Fatah leaders are likely to accuse al-Jazeera of having an anti-PA agenda by publishing the leaked documents, which they believe will benefit their Hamas rivals, backed by Iran — as shown in critical comments about the TV station in the documents themselves.

Relations between al-Jazeera, the most widely watched TV channel in the Middle East, and the PA leadership have often been strained after it has run reports regarded by the administration as hostile – as is the case with regimes throughout the region.

The documents have been redacted to remove details such as email addresses, phone numbers or other information that could identify those who leaked them.
So who disclosed the documents? The 'Palestinians' themselves? The Negotiating Support Unit (which is supported by the Europeans and has taken a harder line than the 'Palestinians' themselves)? An Arab country that received the documents from the 'Palestinians'?

And why were they disclosed? There's no Julian Assange here who is trying to bring down the 'Palestinian Authority.' Or is there?

Who benefits from this disclosure? Clearly Hamas does.

Who loses by this disclosure? Aside from the 'Palestinian Authority' - whose constituents were probably totally shocked to discover what their representatives were discussing with the Israelis - other losers are Tzipi Livni and Barak Obama.


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At 10:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its very likely these forgeries were leaked by a dissident Fatah faction that sought to discredit Abu Bluff and other PalArab leaders in his circles by making him look like an Israeli patsy. No wonder they are up in arms over the disclosures in Ramallah... if the reported PA concessions are NOT true, why protest too much to the Arab media about them? The real intent of the papers is to dissuade PA leaders from even contemplating compromise with Israel and to strengthen their resolve to boycott the resumption of peace talks with Israel.

This theory would explain why the PA is behaving as it does and to the authors of the Palileaks, whoever they are, the outcome can be viewed by them as "mission accomplished."

At 5:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If documents are true, not forgeries, then the current unilateral PA strategy makes no sense, refusal to negotiate, truculently defying "Judaization of Jerusalem", calling the private sale of the Mufti's disused property "ethnic cleansing," the UN route etc. etc. etc.

Why be protesting from the sidelines if these were previous positions; come to the table, with the same positions (even including an annual quota of refugees falling short of mass open-ended immersion) and force Israel into internal debate; wouldn't matter what the Israel response was in particular. Why boycott? To honor Obama? And why the rest? Baffling.

Unless it is bogus.


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