Sunday, January 23, 2011

Editorial: Al Jazeera Releases The Palestine Papers

Al Jazeera today released the first of what it has announced will be several bundles of previously unknown documents detailing the inner workings of the Palestinian - Israeli peace negotiations over the last ten years. Al Jazeera intends to release the Palestine Papers thematically, beginning today with the topic of Jerusalem and the Jewish settlements in the Eastern half of the city, which was captured and subsequently annexed by Israel in the 1967 War. The documents seem to portray a 2008 Palestinian delegation under Ahmed Qurei' that held a very weak line and conceded key points to Israel in terms of settlements, territory swaps, and the status of Jerusalem.

The Palestine Papers have already sparked outrage from some Palestinians against their government. These sentiments do not seem to be any different from those associated with the ongoing debate in Palestinian political society over the correct stance towards Israel: should the West Bank Palestinians stick to staunch resistance to Israeli occupation and run the risk of political stagnation, or should they cooperate with the Israeli government and run the risk of allowing their partisan opponents to brand them as collaborators. This question has driven much of the animosity between Hamas and Fateh. The Papers may enflame this poignant and volatile debate.

As Al Jazeera continues to release the Papers, CrossTalk will be featuring several guests in the coming days who will speak to the significance of this new information and its potential affect on the region - Check back often.

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