January 24, 2011 Al Jazeera Leaks Details of Israeli Palestinian Talks

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

January 24, 2011 Al Jazeera Leaks Details of Israeli Palestinian Talks

The news from Israel today was dominated by the leaks that Al Jazeera published on the positions of the Palestinian Authority in their negotiations with the Israelis. The documents were leaked to embarrass and weaken Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority. The consensus is that a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, most likely one of the outside advisors, gave the documents to Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera was the natural beneficiary of the documents, for one of two reasons. The General manager of Al Jazeera is a Palestinian who has made his sympathies for Hamas very clear. In addition, Qatar, where Al Jazeera is located, gets it funding from and is clearly aligned with Iran (and those opposed to Israelis and Palestinian Authority.)

As to the details of the material leaked, they show the Palestinian authority agreeing to dividing Jerusalem more or less along the lines of Taba (i. e. What's Jewish remains Jewish, and what is Arab remains Arab.) It show Palestinians agreeing to a land swap (the exact amount seemed to be one of the open issues when negotiations ended), and probably most importantly, the leak revealed Palestinian willingness to agree to the return of a maximum 10,000 refugees, over a 10 year period.

The leaks will no doubt undermine the government of Abu Mazen further. However, they should also make it clear to Israelis that Netanyahu has been lying. Since Netanyahu assumed office he has stated there is no one to negotiate with. According to some reports, the Netanyahu government has been unwilling to accept any Palestinian negotiating position. I hope when we write the history of this period we do not have to flip the standard statement that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, to refer to the Israelis....never missing an opportunity to ....

Things in Lebanon have taken a distinct turn for the worse. Hezbollah apparently obtaining a majority of the government (once the Druze leader changed sides and supported Hezbollah over the Sunni parties.) Now we will be living with a Lebanon controlled by a Hezbollah puppet government.

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