Secret documents reveal that Palestinian negotiators were prepared to offer Israel almost anything to get something they could call a state. Despite this surrender, Israeli negotiators still refused an agreement.
Documents leaked to Arabic TV network Al Jazeera show the farce the negotiations on the creation of a Palestinian state have been.
More than 1,600 documents detail negotiations between Israel and Fatah, which runs the Palestinian Authority, between 1999 and 2010.
They show that Palestinian negotiators offered to concede sovereignty over East Jerusalem, allow illegal Israeli settlements to remain and abandon the right of return for refugees.
Throughout, the Palestinians make concessions and beg for anything, even “a figleaf” so that they can say they were offered something.
At one point in 2008 an exasperated negotiator pointed out that they had conceded the
biggest Jerusalem in Jewish history, only a “symbolic number” of refugees to return and a demilitarised state. “What more can I give?” he asked.
The negotiators knew they were offering far more than the vast majority of Palestinians would accept.
Israel showed nothing but contempt for the Palestinians. None of the concessions were enough to get them to make a deal.
Palestinian author and activist Ghada Karmi said, “These leaks confirm something many Palestinians have been fearing for a long time.
“Since the Palestine Liberation Organisation abandoned any option other than negotiation this was where they were headed.
“The Palestinian leadership went into the peace process as if they were equal partners in the discussion, but there is a gross power asymmetry.
“They’re like a gambler who walks into a casino convinced he can beat the house. As he loses he becomes ever more desperate and keeps raising his stake. Israel is never going to make concessions. What have the Palestinians got that Israel needs?”
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat asked Tzipi Livni, an Israeli negotiator, “Short of your jet fighters in my sky and your army on my territory, can I choose where I secure external defence?”
She replied, “No. In order to create your state you have to agree in advance with Israel—you choose not to have the right of choice afterwards.”
And the Palestinian negotiators knew what was at stake. They complained, “Our credibility on the ground has never been so low. Now it’s about survival.”
More of the files are still to be made public. These are said include the level of covert co-operation between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian Authority—and the role of British intelligence—in plans to crush the Hamas resitance movement.
The little legitimacy the Palestinian Authority still held with ordinary people should be destroyed by the revelations.
Ghada added, “The Palestinians must refuse to be led by these people. They must be forced to resign and face new elections.
“All Palestinian people, including refugees, should take part in the election of a new leadership.
“People in Britain must never take the heat off Israel. The Palestinian leadership may be silly, but the real problem is Israel.
“We’ve ended up with this semi-strangled leadership because they are the only people Israel and the US would deal with.”
Mavi Marmara investigation
The Israeli government has released the results of its investigation into last year’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla. The report fully exonerates the Israeli military, who killed nine activists. This contradicts the evidence of activists on the Mavi Marmara where the killings took place.