The revelation of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian diplomatic records has shocked the world—all of it except the United States, that is.
The “Palestine Papers,” published by the Guardian and Al-Jazeera, which cover decades of failed so-called peace negotiations, show among other things just how much the Palestinian Authority was willing to sacrifice, and how much more the Israeli government still wanted.
According to the documents—which the Palestinians say are partly fabricated but they won’t say which part—in 2008, Saeb Erekat, the PA’s chief negotiator, offered to allow Israel to annex almost all settlements in East Jerusalem with nothing in return—lands which international law recognizes as Palestinian. “This is the first time in Palestinian-Israeli history in which such a suggestion is officially made,” the Palestinian negotiator pointed out, but his Israeli counterparts rejected even that offer saying it didn’t go far enough.
Surveying the reaction to the release—in the United States it’s mostly silence, or concern for the State Department’s own credibility. In the Arab world and most of Europe the reaction is more typically outrage at the betrayal, and what Erekat calls “flexibility” and willingness to be “creative” others are calling a giveaway. Says one Tweeter: the papers show Israel doesn’t want peace and Abbas doesn’t want Palestine.
Coming up, the Guardian promises more releases, including some that they say will reveal that PA leaders were privately tipped off about Israel’s 2008–09 war in Gaza. Meanwhile in other news, an Israeli inquiry has absolved that government and its military in any wrongdoing on the attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last year, the one that killed nine last year when Israeli troops stormed the Mavi Marmara ship. Inquiry chair Jacob Turkel declared the Israeli actions were justified by Israel’s security concerns.
When insecurity justifies just about anything and total concessions are rejected as inadequate, it all begins to make one wonder whether insecurity hasn’t become more valuable than peace. And if that’s the case, what’s the next step for the people of Gaza and the West Bank?
*Research help provided by Anna Lekas Miller.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on Facebook.