Guardian, Al-Jazeera 'misquoted' Palestine Papers

The report said the Guardian overlooked points including the content of Ehud Olmert's offers in 2008

The report said the Guardian overlooked points including the content of Ehud Olmert's offers in 2008

There have been “prominent distortions” in the media coverage of the content of the leaked Palestine Papers, according to research by advocacy group Bicom.

The documents have sent shockwaves around the world since they were first released last week by Al-Jazeera and the Guardian newspaper.

But ‘The Palestine Papers: Analysis or Agenda?,’ produced with input from Palestinian and Israeli experts, shows that in places the facts of the documents “differ starkly from claims made about them”.

The report highlights key inconsistencies, including that the papers were “misquoted” to suggest the Palestinians were willing to accept a cap of 10,000 refugees.

But the Bicom researchers said they found evidence of “the Palestinians demanding an initial number of 150,000”.

Bicom also stressed that rather than, as claimed by the Guardian and Al-Jazeera, the Palestinians conceding on recognising Israel as a Jewish state, the papers actually pointed to “a hardening of the Palestinian position on this issue”.

The report also criticised the Guardian for “focusing their attention selectively, in particular by failing to give sufficient weight to the Olmert proposal of August 2008” and for presenting the content of old Middle East negotiations as new.

Bicom said: “We have looked at some of their most prominent distortions, revealing the extent to which both Al Jazeera and the Guardian have pursued an aggressive line in interpreting the documents, casting both Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in a negative light.”

Last updated: 10:25pm, January 31 2011