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The Palestine Papers, representing publication of information hidden from public records and containing a cache of nearly 1,700 files, are the largest news leak in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They were released in January 2011 by Al-Jazeera. Thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence detailing the inner workings of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, documents—memos, e-mails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high level exchanges, strategy papers and even power point presentations—dating from 1999 to 2010, were released between January 23 and 26, 2011.
There are 1,684 total documents, including:
- 275 sets of meeting minutes;
- 690 internal e-mails;
- 153 reports and studies;
- 134 sets of talking points and prep notes for meetings;
- 64 draft agreements;
- 54 maps, charts and graphs;
- and 51 “non-papers.”
The documents were obtained by Al-Jazeera and shared in advance of publication with The Guardian in an effort to ensure the wider availability of their content. The Guardian has authenticated the bulk of the papers independently, but has not sought or been given access to the sources of the documents. Al-Jazeera, which is publishing the papers in full on their website, has redacted minimal parts of the papers in order to protect their sources' identities. Gershon Baskin, codirector of Israel Palestinian Center for Research, said "I'm 100 percent sure that it’s a former disgruntled employed" member of the Negotiations Support Unit headed by Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. Israel's Channel 10 news show also named the source of the leak as a former member of the NSU.
Akiva Eldar, writing in Haaretz, said that the documents are more important than those released by Wikileaks because they deal with current issues regarding permanent borders in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The documents 
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According to one of the documents, the Palestinian Authority was prepared to concede all Israeli settlements in and around East Jerusalem, as well as the Armenian Quarter, with the exception of Har Homa. The Temple Mount would be temporarily administrated by a joint body consisting of the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States until a permanent solution was reached.
At a meeting in Jerusalem in November 2007, according to the documents, Tzipi Livni became visibly angry when asked about the demographic composition of the future Israeli state. She was quoted as saying "Israel the state of the Jewish people -- and I would like to emphasize the meaning of “its people” is the Jewish people—with Jerusalem the united and undivided capital of Israel and of the Jewish people for 3007 years". The Palestinians team then protested her position on Jerusalem. She responded by saying "Now I have to say, before we continue, in order to continue we have to put out Jerusalem from your statement and from our place. We have enough differences, without putting another one out there". Making the discussion of the borders of Jerusalem a non-starter on the subject of borders.
Later in the discussion, Tzipi Livni told Ahmed Qurei that "I understand the sentiments of the Palestinians when they see the settlements being built. The meaning from the Palestinian perspective is that Israel takes more land, that the Palestinian state will be impossible, the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we'll say that it is impossible, we already have the land and cannot create the state". She indicated that the position was not the policy of her current coalition but of other parties. The Palestinian negotiators protested the idea that the settlement activity had been halted as well as pointed out that the issue of settlements also included settlement expansion and activity from the private sector. Tzipi Livini responded to that by stating "When the government has [issued] the tender in the past it means that the private sector won the tender and then it has the rights on the land. They are entitled to work on the land that they purchased".
According to the documents, in a meeting with Livni in Jerusalem, Qurei proposed that Israel annex all settlements along the border except for the large cities and towns of Giv'at Ze'ev, Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel, and Efrat. The documents indicate Livni rejected Qurei's demands that Israel cede these settlements. Qurei reportedly suggested to Livni that these settlements be placed under Palestinian sovereignty, but Livni told him "you know this is not realistic". According to the documents, Condoleezza Rice similarly told Qurei that "I don't think that any Israeli leader is going to cede Ma'ale Adumim", to which Qurei replied "or any Palestinian". Rice then told him "Then you won't have a state!"
Napkin Map peace process of 2008 
According to the Palestine Papers, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas held a series of peace proposal meetings from the middle of 2008 to September 16, 2008 in which the infamous "Napkin Map" incident occurred. During the first of several meetings, the Palestinian Authority proposed a land swap, offering Israel the opportunity to annex all of the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem in return for land concessions by Israel. Olmert, however, offered nothing in return.
In a second attempt to clearly define the Israeli-Palestinian border,Prime Minister Olmert offered his own proposal in which Israel would annex more than 10% of the West Bank. The land in Olmert's map included the four settlements of Gush Etzion (with Efrat), Ma'ale Adumim, Giv'at Ze'ev, and Ariel, in addition to all settlements in East Jerusalem (Har Homa). In exchange for those concessions by the Palestinian Authority, Olmert offered 5.5% of Israeli land as part of the swap. The land offered consisted of lightly populated farmland, which would be divided between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. When Mahmoud Abbas asked to keep a copy of the map for further consideration, Ehud Olmert refused to comply. Mahmoud Abbas was forced to sketch Ehud Olmert's map by hand on a napkin to have a copy for further consideration. This map was then later referred to as the Napkin Map.
The third and final meeting occurred on September 16, 2008. It was during this time that Ehud Olmert was nearing the end of his political career. At the time, Olmert was under police investigation for alleged corruption that had occurred while he was Mayor of Jerusalem, and as a result of the accusations was not planning on running again. During the final meeting, Mahmoud Abbas was prepared by the Negotiation Support Unit (NSU) to clarify many questions regarding Ehud Olmert's peace plan in which Abbas was quoted as asking questions such as "How do you see it addressing our interests, especially as Ariel, Maale Adumim, Givat Zeev, Har Homa and Efrat clearly prejudice contiguity, water aquifers, and the viability of Palestine?" as well as others about the value of the land that they would receive in such a swap in terms of value and size.
The Negotiation Support Unit (NSU) also insisted that Prime Minister Olmert provide them with a copy of the map, which was again denied. In the end, however, Mahmoud Abbas asked for a few days to consider the offer. A day after this meeting, Olmert resigned and Tzipi Livni stepped in as Acting Prime Minister, with Benjamin Netanyahu being elected shortly afterward. Netanyahu refused to start negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas and created his own revision of the map, as well as refused to restart negotiations based on the more demanding and aggressive map created by Ehud Olmert.
Yankie Galenty, a media adviser for Ehud Olmert, affirmed the complete authenticity of the documents in an interview. In regards to refugees, he stated that "Olmert, from day one, did not deceive Abu Mazen and told him that Israel will not allow the return of refugees and not one refugee will return to the land of Israel."
Other officials in the Israeli government asked for a limited right of return numbering between five to ten thousand, out of a total of five million refugees, who would be carefully picked by Israel and allowed to stay under "humanitarian conditions". This has been a part of several concessions asked by both sides to, in essence, circumvent and nullify the Palestinian right of return.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice proposed settling Palestinians refugees in Argentina and Chile as an alternative to letting them return to former homes in Israel and the occupied territories during a meeting.
In her memoirs, Condoleezza Rice wrote that Olmert initially proposed that Israel accept 5,000 Palestinians refugees. Abbas rejected the offer, saying that "I can't tell four million Palestinians that only 5,000 of them can go home". According to the second night of the Al-Jazeera broadcast, Israelis and Palestinians eventually agreed that Israel would accept 10,000 refugees.
Palestinian Authority 
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the leaks were "a pack of lies", saying the Palestinian leadership had nothing to hide, however they posed a threat to his personal safety. He said that the information shown contained mistakes and inaccuracies and that his words were taken out of context and he had been misquoted. He resigned from his position on 12 February citing the release of the papers. Under pressure from the papers, the PLO called for a presidential and parliamentary elections in the second-half of 2011. Erekat said that the "Palestinian Authority would never give up any of our rights. If we did indeed offer Israel the Jewish and Armenian Quarters of Jerusalem, and the biggest Yerushalayim as they claim, then why did Israel not sign a final status agreement? Is it not strange that we would offer all these concessions which Israel demands, yet there is still no peace deal?"
Yasser Abed Rabbo, giving the PA's first official response, accused Al Jazeera and the Government of Qatar of attacking the Palestinian Authority, having a hostile attitude towards the PA since the days of former president Yasser Arafat. Abed Rabbo was quoted saying that the Al-Jazera leaks are "a distortion of the truth". Abed Rabbo accused the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, of giving Al Jazeera the "green light" to start the campaign, and called on the Emir to "extend the climate of transparency in his own state and reveal his true relations with Israel and Iran".
Ahmed Qurei, former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority and chief Palestinian negotiator in the 2008 talks, said that "many parts of the documents were fabricated, as part of the incitement against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership."
Nasser Gawi, a lead organizer for demonstrations in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where he had been recently evicted by Israeli settlers from his home, was quoted as saying "Erekat must have become more Zionist than Zionist. He has no mandate to give up Sheikh Jarrah or an inch of Palestine."
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that "even the most left-wing government of Olmert and Livni did not manage to reach a peace agreement, despite the many concessions." He also promoted his plan for peace, which would allocate 45% to 50% of the West Bank for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Livni said that "the [peace] process did not fail and was not exhausted. 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."
Source of the leaks 
See also 
- United States diplomatic cables leak also known as Cablegate
- Iraq War documents leak also known as the Iraqi War Logs
- Afghan War documents leak
- "Introducing The Palestine Papers". Al Jazeera English. 23 January 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- "FAQ: The Palestine Papers". Al Jazeera English. 23 January 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- "Palestine papers: Editor's note". The Guardian (London). 23 January 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- "Possible source of Palestine papers leak". The Christian Science Monitor. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- Akiva Eldar, The Palestine papers: Al-Jazeera trumps WikiLeaks, Haaretz, January 24, 2011.
- The Globe and Mail (Toronto) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/israel-rejected-historic-concessions-palestine-papers-reveal/article1880189/
|url=missing title (help).
- "Corrections and clarifications". The Guardian (London). 12 February 2011.
- "The Palestine Papers: Meeting Minutes: 8th Negotiation Team Meeting". Al Jazeera Transparency Unit. Al Jazeera Media Network. 13. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- The Globe and Mail (Toronto) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/israel-rejected-historic-concessions-palestine-papers-reveal/article1880189/page2/
|url=missing title (help).
- Gregg Carlstrom (23). "The Palestine Papers: "The biggest Yerushalayim"". Al Jazeera online. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- Goodspeed, Peter (30 January 2011). "Goodspeed Analysis: A Palestine that might have been". National Post. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Olmert adviser says Al-Jazeera leaks 100% correct, Ahram Online, 24 January 2011
- Carroll, Rory (24 January 2011). "Condoleezza Rice: send Palestinian refugees to South America". The Guardian (London).
- Stoil, Rebecca Anna (11 January 2011). "Rice reveals concessions in 2008 peace talks". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Black, Ian; Milne, Seumas (24 January 2011). "Papers reveal how Palestinian leaders gave up fight over refugees". The Guardian (London).
- לבני הציעה להעביר ערבים-ישראלים לרשות, Israel Army Radio online, 25 January 2011
- "PA negotiators reject leaked report". Al Jazeera English. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
- "Palestinians question 'offers' leaked by al-Jazeera". BBC. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
- Nasser Abu Bakr (12). "Palestinian election plan runs into Hamas obstacle". AFP. AFP. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- "Palestinians attack al-Jazeera 'distorted' talks leaks". BBC News. 24 January 2011.
- PA hits back at Qatar’s Amir, Ahram online, 24 January 2011
- Black, Ian; Milne, Seumas; Sherwood, Harriet (24 January 2011). "Palestine papers are distortion of truth, say Palestinian officials". The Guardian (London).
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- Nir Hasson (25). "Palestinian map of dividing Jerusalem 'out of touch with reality', says cartographer". Haaretz. Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- Lieberman: Leaked Palestinian papers prove interim deal is only option, Haaretz, 24 January 2011
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- French lawyer reveals himself as 'Palestine papers' source, Haaretz, 14.05.11
- Why I blew the whistle about Palestine, The Guardian, 14.05.11
- Search the Palestine Papers on Al-Jazeera English's Transparency Unit
- The Palestine Papers by Al-Jazeera English
- The Palestine Papers by The Guardian
- The Palestine Papers by The Real News
- Rashid Khalidi: Leaked "Palestine Papers" Underscore Weakness of Palestinian Authority - video report by Democracy Now!
- Palestinian negotiators say leaked papers real by Abbas Al Lawati of Gulf News