Palestine Papers

A cache of more than 1,600 confidential documents from negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) between 1999 and 2010. Leaked by employees in the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit, the documents were published by Al-Jazeera in January 2011. The documents revealed (among other things) details about 1) the PA’s concessions regarding Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees’ right of return; 2) the PA’s joint security work with Israel; and 3) the possibility that the PA knew about the Gaza War prior to Israel’s military offensive in late December 2008. Al-Jazeera’s publication of the Palestine Papers was extremely controversial within Palestinian society. Some Palestinians saw the Papers as confirmation that the PA was unfit to lead and had made too many compromises with Israel. Other Palestinians, including the PA, believed the publication of the Papers to be a ploy to overthrow the Fatah dominated PA and that many of the details of the PA’s dealings with Israel were taken out of context. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated the Papers proved that even a left-wing government in Israel could not find agreement with the Palestinians and therefore a plan that defined provisional borders for the West Bank would be best. In February 2011, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat resigned from his post and the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit was dissolved. See "The Palestine Papers," Al Jazeera; "Palestinians attack al-Jazeera ‘distorted’ talks leaks," BBC News, 24 January 2011; and "Lieberman: Leaked Palestinian papers prove interim deal is only option," Haaretz, January 24, 2011.

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