A position paper by a senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs states that leaks of Israel-PA talks by Al-Jazeera are designed to harm the PA and block resumption of talks with Israel.
Pinhas Inbari, a veteran Palestinian Authority affairs correspondent and the author of books such as “The Palestinians: Between Terrorism and Statehood,” writes that Al-Jazeera has an agenda to de-legitimize the PA in the eyes of its residents and the Arab world.
Over the past week, the Qatar-based Arabic-language satellite TV station and international news network has been publishing documents leaked to it from the PLO Negotiations Support Unit – causing great damage to the PA negotiators. “Now, after Al-Jazeera has brainwashed Arab minds with charges of PLO treason,” Inbari writes, “no declaration of statehood can be expected. Neither will there be a resumption of negotiations with Israel since the Palestinian team will stick to the most hard-line positions possible.”
The leaked documents indicate that the PLO negotiators and leadership conceded to Israel on three main points: The relatively small number of Arab “refugees” to be allowed to enter Israel; allowing Israel to keep most Jewish neighborhoods in what is known as eastern Jerusalem; and collaborating with Israel in fighting Hamas terrorists.
According to the leaked documents, Inbari writes, the PLO negotiating team “relinquished all Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem except for Har Homa - including Ramot Shlomo, the Jewish neighborhood that sparked the crisis between Israel and the U.S., and Sheikh Jarrah, now a location for demonstrations by international supporters of the Palestinian cause.”
The papers also quote PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in an internal briefing to PA officials as saying, "We cannot demand the return of millions, as this will end Israel."
Inbari indicates that Al-Jazeera purposely overlooks the firmness with which the PA adhered to some of its positions. For instance, the PLO team "was adamant in refusing to agree to Israeli demands to keep the settlement blocs. For example, the Palestinians demanded the dismantling of the city of Ariel (pop. 17,559), and they were ready to consider leaving Israelis living in Ma'ale Adumim (pop. 34,324) only if the Jewish city adjacent to Jerusalem was under Palestinian sovereignty.” He also raises the possibility that some of the leaked documents are simply forgeries.
In response to the Al-Jazeera campaign against Abbas and his Fatah organization, Fatah gunmen attacked Al-Jazeera studios in Shechem (Nablus) on Wednesday. They damaged equipment, though no one was hurt.