Rounding Up the Reax to PaliLeaksJanuary 24, 2011 20:17 by Pesach Benson
A collection of what’s being said about the sturm und drang of the Palestinian Papers published in The Guardian:
Third, what some newspapers are calling “offers” or “agreements” made in the 2007-2008 negotiations are far less than that–are in fact most often preliminary probes or efforts to smoke out the other side. The Israelis and Palestinians never reached an agreement and in many areas, as the papers so far published show, were very far apart. It is often said that “everyone knows what a final status agreement will look like” but these documents powerfully undermine that conclusion . . .
This is utterly devastating since it simultaneously shows that everyone from the British Foreign Office and the BBC to the European Commission and the continent’s passionately anti-Israeli NGO community have been adopting a position which was significantly more uncompromising on “settlements” than the Palestinian leadership itself, and also that that same Palestinian leadership had accepted that the so called 1967 “borders” — the gold standard for practically every anti-Israeli polemic around — are irrelevant to the prospects of a lasting peace.
This leak causes no embarrassment at all to Israel’s politicians. That is because there is no gulf between what Israeli politicians say to their electorate and what they say behind closed doors. By contrast, the reason that this leak is damaging to those Palestinian politicians who are its target, is because there is a huge gap between the Palestinian negotiators realistic and prudent diplomatic conduct, in private, and what they tell their (infrequent) electorate in public.
But the biggest loser in the Palestine Papers is someone who was not even on the scene at the time. That is President Obama, who chose to make Israeli settlements the centerpiece of the peace process. The papers show that one of the only areas on which the sides had come close to an agreement was the acceptability of land swaps as a solution to the settlements controversy. Today, at Obama’s behest, the Palestinians insist on a complete settlement freeze before they’ll even talk — including in areas that just two years ago they had agreed were already de facto Israeli. Thus did Obama turn back the clock on one of the only points of relative consensus and progress between the two sides.
Wherever the actual truth of this lies, it seems to me, the Guardian is stuffed. Either it’s right about the content of the documents — in which case its whole analysis of the Middle East has been totally wrong all these years; or in its desire to destroy Israel it has fallen for an epic scam, and those writers who couldn’t contain their eagerness to put the boot into Israel in this morning’s paper are thus revealed to be idiots.