The Palestinian Authority proposed an unprecedented land swap to the Israeli government, offering to annex virtually all of the illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. – The “napkin map” revealed


If old media wasn’t screwed after Wikileaks they are now.

It’s also weird to be reading headlines talking about the end of the peace talks. There has been nothing but the air of unrealistic hopes since Obama made settlements an issue, but then backed off.

Where Wikileaks was more like several episodes of a soap opera, relatively harmless. It’s hard to think of a destructive enough adjective to use to describe the immediate reaction to the story from Al Jazeera, which hasn’t even released many details yet, though what they did tease was explosive.

One nugget from Sect. Clinton has her asking why the Palestinians were “always in a chapter of a Greek tragedy,” according to one report.

PA leaders repeatedly threatened to abandon attempts to negotiate a two-state solution in favour of a one-state option. At the same meeting, Erekat declared that if the settlement of the West Bank continued, “we will announce the one state and the struggle for equality in the state of Israel”.

But the documents show US officials unmoved by such claims. Why were the Palestinians “always in a chapter of a Greek tragedy”, secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, asked at a meeting with Erekat in Washington in the autumn of 2009.

From Al Jazeera:

Al Jazeera will release the documents between January 23-26th, 2011. They will reveal new details about:

* the Palestinian Authority’s willingness to concede illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, and to be “creative” about the status of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount;
* the compromises the Palestinian Authority was prepared to make on refugees and the right of return;
* details of the PA’s security cooperation with Israel;
* and private exchanges between Palestinian and American negotiators in late 2009, when the Goldstone Report was being discussed at the United Nations.
Because of the sensitive nature of these documents, Al Jazeera will not reveal the source(s) or detail how they came into our possession. We have taken great care over an extended period of time to assure ourselves of their authenticity.

Watching the special report on Al Jazeera English (a network on which I’ve appeared), I couldn’t help but feel the temperature rising in a debate that is always set on boil. The inflammatory nature of the discussions on Al Jazeera not helping as far as I am concerned, especially when Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, started talking extremists and conspiracy theories (videos here), which Shlomo Ben Ami, former Israeli Forign Minister, didn’t buy at all.

Guardian reported it like this:

Many on the Palestinian streets will recoil to read not just the concessions offered by their representatives “” starting with the yielding of those parts of East Jerusalem settled by Israeli Jews “” but the language in which those concessions were made.

To hear their chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, tell the Israelis that the Palestinians are ready to concede “the biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history” “” even using the Hebrew word for the city “” will strike many as an act of humiliation.

In American terms, it looks like an early Valentine for Hamas.

Al Jazeera English, doing what any American cable channel would do, chose to focus on what people were saying about the quotes dumped into the media stream, playing up the more sensational aspects, not only with the opinion panel, but also the way they laid out the information they were ready to reveal. The dramatic nature of the presentation no doubt compelling.

But never let it be said that the Israelis didn’t have a partner for peace. …at least that’s the reaction before any actual documents are public to view.

All this broke on the same day Israel released a wholly unbelievable assessment of the gaza flotilla incident.