Al-Jazeera Palestine papers dismissed as 'fabrication'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 24, 2011
Mahmoud Abbas, George W Bush and Ehud Olmert at the Annapolis conference

Mahmoud Abbas, George W Bush and Ehud Olmert at the Annapolis conference

The Palestinian Authority has roundly dismissed claims that two years ago it offered Israel significant concessions on control of Jerusalem and other key issues in the Middle East peace process.

According to documents published by Al-Jazeera, which are claimed to be leaked reports on the 2008 peace negotiations, the Palestinians said Israel could keep almost all of east Jerusalem in return for an area beside the West Bank.

The holy sites in Jerusalem would initially have been placed under international control.

The leaked papers also suggest that the Palestinians agreed to compromise on the question of refugees, and instead accept a deal which would see Israel take in 100,000 Palestinians over a decade.

The Palestinians have long stated that their aim is to see all the descendants of those who lived in British Mandate Palestine before 1948 live in the country.

The 2008 peace talks, at Annapolis in Maryland, were held in the final days of the George W Bush administration and two months after Israel’s then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had resigned, although before he officially stepped down.

The outcome of the talks was a joint statement supporting a two-state solution, but little other movement from either party.

However, Palestinian officials have denied making these concessions and have called the documents fabrications.

Ahmed Qureia, who led negotiations for the Palestinians in 2008, said the claims were “part of the incitement against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership."

His successor in the role, Saeb Erekat, said the Al-Jazeera claims were "lies and half truths".

Al-Jazeera has announced that these leaks will be followed by further disclosures this week on refugees and other subjects.

Last updated: 4:22pm, January 24 2011