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The Palestine Papers *updated*

January 23, 2011

The American media isn’t covering this yet, naturally (will they at all?) but the rest of the world is covering it non-stop since the story broke today: The release of the Palestine Papers which allegedly show just how much the Palestinian Authority was willing to concede to Israel (agreed to give up most of E. Jerusalem, receive only a token right of return, recognize Israel as a Jewish state, agreed to be total demilitarized and on and on and on), only to receive nothing but mockery and derision in return- not just from Israel but from the U.S.- including from this administration. Now, we don’t yet know if these documents are authentic but if not, then someone went to a lot of trouble to create thousands of documents with official stamps, dates, signatures etc.

The Palestine Papers can be found here and here.

UPDATE: I just got this from the State Dept- it’s a tweet from PJ Crowley that they also sent by email. This would suggest they are already getting requests for information about it:

“The U.S. government is reviewing the alleged Palestinian documents released by Al-Jazeera. We cannot vouch for their veracity.”

UPDATE IIThe NYT finally picked up one aspect of the story- The Palestinians are denying the documents are authentic. I am reading in the British press that the Palestinians are denying they are valid because if the Palestinian population finds out just how much these Palestinian leaders were willing to concede in negotiations then there would be rioting in the streets. The documents also suggest the PA knew about the deadly Operation Cast Lead prior to it being initiated- it is allegedly reported that Israel informed the PA- this type of information could result in the PA losing all legitimacy and it could be a huge boon for Hamas, who claims, for PR purposes and to maintain their support, that the PA is in the pocket of the US and Israel.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Thain permalink
    January 23, 2011 7:52 pm

    Jesus it’s even worse than I thought. Nothing at nyt, wapo or any MSM outlet- it’s all over British, French, Israeli, Arab media.

    Did you see that comment from Hillary in one of the articles? She was practically making fun of the Palestinians to their faces! I was so bummed when I read that.

    The documents have the stamp verifications etc from the PA, US etc. I wonder if this is the unflattering cables/info on Israel the US media refused to publish?

    From this point on I will never trust the US media on anything having to do with this issue. They are so biased they can’t even bring themselves to inform the public about what’s really going on b/c they know reasonable people would start questioning our unconditional support for the Occupation.

  2. Steve permalink
    January 23, 2011 8:04 pm

    Wow, thanks for this Stacy- I was so caught up in football I didn’t even notice and as you said, nothing is being covered in the MSM.

    This just seals it- this all needs to go to the UN. The US can’t negotiate this because we are playing two roles- both the Israeli role and the mediator role- it’s totally silly at this point. The media serves the role of chief US propagandist by painting every failure as the fault of the Palestinians. Interesting that Hillary said essentially just that the other week in the Gulf although she wasn’t that pointed. As my wife says, there has always been two sides to this story but only one has been told thus far- the Israeli/US side. Now we are seeing what really went on and it looks very bad for both the US and Israel.

  3. Thain permalink
    January 23, 2011 9:03 pm

    Oh, come on, the Palestinians are saying they are fake? Of course they are b/c while it shows the west that Israel really DO have a viable partner for peace, it will look very different to many Arabs b/c the PA comes off looking pathetic, overly accommodating and too willing to cave to US and Israeli demands. Many Arabs don’t trust the PA believing they are paid puppets of the US and Israel and you know what? They apparently are.

    Israel looks terrible of course but no one will care in the US. The media and the Obama admin will spin it or distract us with Iran. This all just convinces me even mire that Iran is being used as a foil to give Israel another security excuse and distract everyone from the fact they’d rather grab land than have peace.

  4. January 23, 2011 9:15 pm

    These documents include notes, cables, minutes and even power point presentations.

    This is really ugly for the US:

    US media is still not highlighting it at all. I’ve totally given up on the MSM, they are incapable of objectivity in this.

  5. Susan permalink
    January 23, 2011 9:45 pm

    The peace process is dead.

    These documents show the US and Israel to be working together to expand and entrench the occupation. We say one thing and do another. I was ashamed of my country as I was reading through the papers linked at the Guardian.

    Abbas offered to give up most of East Jerusalem, proclaim Israel a Jewish state and give up the right of return except for a token number of people and THIS State Dept in 2009 told the Palestinians that wasn’t good enough?

  6. AsherLev permalink
    January 23, 2011 9:50 pm


    You silly Americans! Did you really think this new administration of Barack Obama was different? Hillary Clinton is a Zionist who always blamed the Palestinians and never wanted us to have to give up judea & Samaria! Are you surprised she mocks the chief Palestinian negotiator? Are you surprised your President is more concerned with Jewish votes than two states?

    You are smarter than this I thought.

    • January 24, 2011 10:48 am

      Asher- I think you are oversimplifying things. The problem is not Hillary Clinton but rather the entire US approach now and going back decades. Is Hillary now becoming part of the problem? Unfortunately, yes. Unless someone is willing to stand up and take a stand and demand a change in the status quo, there will never be peace in the region.

  7. Tovah permalink
    January 24, 2011 7:39 am

    I am so disappointed in this admin. and yes, the State dept. These documents are so damning.

    US media is still largely ignoring them. The State Dept will be able to keep up the charade so long as the media continues to cover up what’s really going on.

    I’m so bummed right now. I really thought Hillary would try to be more objective.

    The peace process has been a charade. I agree this should go to the UN. No wonder Hillary and Obama are trying to prevent the Palestinians from going to the UN- we want to control everything for Israel’s benefit.

    • January 24, 2011 8:38 am

      The US media will largely ignore it because it makes both Israel and the US look like bullies. The Palestinian leaders look weak and desperate as they try to ingratiate themselves to Israel and the US and they will lose whatever little legitimacy they had on the Arab Street.

      I’m done with the US media- they seem to want to keep people in the dark- we can all only speculate as to why.

      I honestly don’t know what kind of games the US is playing but it seems like we are more concerned with putting all our considerable power behind the stronger of the parties (Israel) at the expense of the weak (the Palestinians).

  8. plural permalink
    January 24, 2011 10:08 am

    I heard about this on CBS radio news this morning.

    The date they gave was 2008, which was the Bush administration, not Obama or Hillary.

    • Steve permalink
      January 24, 2011 10:14 am

      I would suggest you go directly to the source- AJ, the Guardian and some of the documents that have started to be posted. The US media isn’t covering this barely at all. If you are interested in this than don’t trust the media summarize the contents, they have their own agenda.

      There are thousands of documents, most not released which actually go from the present back at least two decades. There is some information that deals with this current administration- I have seen summaries of it. AJ and the Guardian will be releasing information over the coming week not all at once.

      Anyway, the issue is really important no matter who was in charge at the time. The fact that much of the documentation deals with the past (b/c the Obama admin. has only been at this 3 years) doesn’t really matter for purposes of what’s going on with the peace process. Obviously there will be less
      info. on this administration because this conflict has been going on for decades and the Obama admin. has only been in office for 3 years. But the past is prologue.

      Here is an article that references some of the more current stuff. Lots of references to George Mitchell:

  9. January 24, 2011 10:38 am

    In my opinion, the more I look at some of the info. the issue isn’t so much about individuals in this or previous administrations but rather the overall attitude and the approach of administrations now and in the past. One thing jumped out at me right away- irrespective of whether it was a democrat or republican POTUS, the US has generally been unable to serve as an objective mediator, which is what I think this process needs. We have a conflict of interest- we can’t be both Israel’s eternal protector in all circumstances and then expect to be able to help negotiate a FAIR resolution to this conflict.

    While I am disappointed that this particular WH and State Dept. seem to have adopted the same attitude and approach of previous administrations despite a promising start (the Cairo speech and Clinton’s call for the cessation of settlements), the fact is that this problem is not about any one person or administration but rather a serious problem in the US approach.

    The admin. needs some people who think outside the box instead of relying on the same self-interested people for advice. The Israelis already have a superior bargaining position because they HAVE a state and they are the occupying power. The US does’t need to be so overprotective of Israel. If anything, it’s the weaker party that needs some help.

    Just my 2 cents 🙂

    • HillaryFan permalink
      January 24, 2011 11:09 am

      Well said Stacy.

      It doesn’t help for people to get defensive just because it’s Hillary as the SOS. I think you are right that the entire US approach in the past and now has been too biased and it’s obviously gotten us nowhere. It’s interesting though that everyone has blamed the Palestinians for all the breakdown in the peace process not only now but even during the Bush and Clinton years. Even Hillary has said this. But looking at the little I have seen of these papers so far it would seem that it wasn’t entirely the Palestinians fault at all. It seems like blaming the Palestinians is/was the politically expedient thing to do if not entirely accurate.

  10. January 24, 2011 10:46 am

    MJ Rosenberg has written about the papers:

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      January 24, 2011 11:51 am

      I’m inclined to agree with Rosenberg about the next move for Palestinians: call for new elections, establish a democratically elected government, then declare the state. The alternative, I’m afraid, is another intifada.

  11. plural permalink
    January 24, 2011 11:43 am

    I was simply pointing out that the media is covering the story. It is also on the front page of the New York Times site today.

    • Steve permalink
      January 24, 2011 11:50 am

      Yes, I see it in a very small mini-headline close to the bottom of the page. I don’t mean to sound so critical but this is a much bigger story than this sort of minor coverage. I’m not alleging some great conspiracy or anything but I think this is being downplayed big time in the US media. I think the info. contained in the documents reflect poorly not only on the parties involved but on the media too because for whatever reason they were not reporting about the negotiations accurately but rather simply repeating all the US and Israeli rationales for what was going on. That’s not reporting that’s stenography.

      I listened to NPR for about an hour this morning and they didn’t mention it once on their news summary.

      Laura Rozen put a post up about it. At least it’s getting tons of coverage in the blogosphere.

  12. Lulu permalink
    January 24, 2011 12:55 pm

    Good primer on the papers- short and sweet:

    What’s so infuriating is the US was actually negotiating on BEHALF of Israel. When the Palestinians would make a huge concession to Israel the admin. would say “no, that’s not enough”- WTF? The US should have said “thank you for making such a difficult concession, we’ll go to the Israelis with this.”

    I don’t think there is any other way to read this other than the US has made a mockery of the peace process for short term political gains here at home. The US has actually made the Occupation worse.

    Abbas and Fayyed are just paid-off puppets of the US. No wonder Arabs on the street always thought the peace process was a joke. I always thought they were being too cynical but it turns out they were right.

  13. January 24, 2011 3:33 pm

    It looks like the State Dept. is just going to punt on this and pretend it knows nothing about the documents. That’s all well and good- the documents may not be US in origin but it doesn’t mean the State Dept. can’t answer questions about info. contained in the documents which refer to the US. We’ll just hear stuff from PJ Crowley like “we continue to be committed to a two state solution and believe negotiations are the only way forward, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Empty words. And once again, the US will be protecting Israel from the consequences of its intransigence.

    Kabuki theater at its finest.

  14. January 24, 2011 6:24 pm

    It appears that even this administration had no intention of finding a just solution, but rather just was committed to ensuring that Israel would be rewarded for its ongoing land grabs. No wonder the Israelis keep building illegal settlements and no wonder this administration keeps shrugging their shoulders and going “oh well, Israel is a sovereign nation, we can’t force them to do anything?!?”- both Israel and the US know damn well that the US will ensure that the illegal settlements remain intact and that there will be no accountability to international law. Not only will past settlements be painted as legitimate because they are now “Jewish,” but current and future settlements too.

    Israel’s racism knows no bounds and the silence from the self-described leaders of the US Jewish community is deafening. All this talk of maintaining the Jewish ethnic and religious purity of Israel and actually considering the forced removal/transfers of Palestinians by claiming they have no legal or biblical right to the land sounds like Germany circa 1935.

    “We’ve seen the enemy and he is us.”

    Both Israel and this administration have come very close to losing my support.

    • Thain permalink
      January 24, 2011 6:36 pm

      Is the press briefing out yet? It’s not on yet.

      I have a feeling it will be like you said. They’ll just blow it off, end of story “we remain committed to a two state solution but we’re not going to comment on the documents etc. etc.”

      I’m amazed at how the mainstream media is totally downplaying this. That sure helps this administration out doesn’t it? Pretty convenient.

      US foreign policy brought to you by The Israel Lobby.


      • January 24, 2011 6:40 pm

        Yeah, just got a copy. It’s a joke, I’m not even going to both posting or linking to it. It’s just the same talking points repeated over and over. We’re going to continue with the peace charade while providing cover for Israel to grab more land as we speak.

    • Tovah permalink
      January 24, 2011 8:56 pm

      I know you are frustrated but as you said above it’s not just this SOS or POTUS but longstanding policy. I’m not going to try to make excuses for this admin. b/c I’ll admit I was hoping Hillary and Obama really could be more objective but I don’t think it’s possible to get where either one of them are in politics while also acknowledging how self-defeating the US-Israeli relationship has become. As Senator she was pro-settlement and against dividing Jerusalem. Obama was pretty much the same when he spoke at AIPAC. It’s sort of creepy how there is an AIPAC-Israel litmus test each politician has to pass. I am disappointed at how dismissive she is of the Palestinians according to the 2009& 2010 documents. But you know now that I think about it she always gets really defensive about Israel but not about the Palestinians.

  15. tiffy permalink
    January 24, 2011 11:57 pm

    Instead of blaming the us government, maybe we should blame the strength of the Jewish people. They’re just too powerful in the US. They’re present in every business, education and perhaps they control a large share of the media and that’s why bias reports on this issue. If the Palestinians want a fair share of the negotiations, they need to strengthen up. Maybe the Arabs can unite together, after all they control the majority of the oil production, and the wealthy ones can threaten to sell all US stocks.

    • Thain permalink
      January 25, 2011 9:29 am

      There is no viable Arab Lobby in the US because Americans have been taught to fear and hate Muslims and Arabs, particularly after 9/11. Arab states talk a good game but they care more about their oil money than the plight of the Palestinians or else they would have exerted greater pressure and influence by now.

      Lets face it, the Palestinians have successfully been portrayed by Israel, the Lobby and the media as a bunch of cockroaches unworthy of human treatment. People think they are all terrorists and most people don’t even realize Hamas and most Arab nations agreed to sign peace treaties with Israel if Israel would allow a Palestinian state along the internationally recognized 1967 borders . That is utterly reasonable but still Israel runs around screaming “we have so many enemies, we are justified in everything we do.”

      Israel could make peace with its enemies if it ceased its land grabs but they’d rather have land knowing the US will protect them from international law and accountability for their crimes.

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