The biggest news out of the Middle East this morning is courtesy of the Guardian and Al Jazeera: The Palestine Papers. They have just published parts of some 16,076 documents which the news services claim are leaked confidential records from Palestinian Authority sources of meetings, emails, and other communications between Israeli, Palestinian, and American negotiators between 2000 and 2010. The documents apparently reveal that in negotiations the Palestinian Authority had proposed to recognize Israeli annexation of most Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, turn supervision of the Temple Mount over to an international committee, and to limit Palestinian refugee returns to Israel to 10,000 over ten years.
Palestinian Authority representatives rushed to deny the leaks with chief negotiator Saeb Erekat calling them “a pack of lies” and Mahmoud Abbas wondering aloud where Al Jazeera could have even obtained such documents. These two, of course, figure prominently in the reports with Erekat himself quoted as saying the PA was offering Israel “the biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history.” Former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei also makes numerous appearances. Meanwhile, voices in Hamas have seized the opportunity to accuse the PA of “cooperation with the occupation” while at least one Palestinian political analyst has accused Saeb Erekat of treason.