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Palestine Papers stir global reaction

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Photo by EPABy Laila Al-Arian

Al Jazeera’s release on Sunday of the Palestine Papers, a trove of documents related to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, has led to reaction throughout the world.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has gone on the offensive, with President Mahmoud Abbas calling the release “shameful,” and his adviser Yasser Abed Rabbo accusing Al Jazeera of launching a "smear campaign".

Former Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei said "many parts of the documents were fabricated, as part of the incitement against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership".

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said the documents reveal the PA's "close collaboration with [Israel], and reflects its role in trying to kill off the Palestinian cause".

On the Israeli side, Haaretz reports that foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said the papers "prove that the only solution to the conflict between the two sides is a long-term interim agreement, such as his own proposal for a Palestinian state". 

"The documents prove that if even Olmert and Livni couldn't reach a compromise with the Palestinians, everyone will eventually see that the only solution is a long-term interim agreement," Lieberman said in an interview with Israel Radio on Monday.

"Any rational person would reach the same conclusion."

Meanwhile, former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who is prominently featured in the Palestine Papers, initially released a statement through her office saying she would "continue to maintain the discreteness of the talks, in order to protect Israeli interests".

But in a speech on Monday, Livni said it is "clear that the process did not fail and was not exhausted".

She added: "It did not end, but was not allowed to ripen until an agreement was reached because of elections in Israel and this government's choice not to continue the negotiations." 

United Nations envoy Robert Serry added his voice to the debate in a statement released to the press: “I welcome robust political debate, but some of the commentary I have seen conveys an inaccurate impression.

"I can personally attest to the commitment of the Palestinian leadership to secure the legitimate rights and interests of the Palestinian people, based on international law and UN resolutions."

Writing on Twitter, US state department spokesman PJ Crowley, said: "The US government is reviewing the alleged Palestinian documents released by Al-Jazeera. We cannot vouch for their veracity."

He later added that the US "remains focused on a two-state solution and will continue to work with the parties to narrow existing differences on core issues".

Former US negotiators have also weighed in, with Aaron David Miller saying the documents show that the Israeli government could not sign a deal because it did not have the political standing to do so

Reaction was swift on social media sites like Twitter. Blake Hounshell, the editor of Foreign Policy, tweeted, "I think today may be remembered as the day the two-state solution died."

Former British MP George Galloway, wrote "The shame on the ‘negotiators’ [collaborators] who offered this will never be eradicated."


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