'Palileaks' Case of Sabotage, Expert Says

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JERUSALEM, Israel - They're calling it 'Palileaks' - the latest revelations of secret diplomatic documents - this time about the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating process.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his government are finding themselves in big trouble after the pan-Arab television station al-Jazeera and the British Guardian newspaper released documents showing proposed wide-scale concessions to the Israelis.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the U.S. is "reviewing the alleged Palestinian documents" but couldn't "vouch for their veracity."

He added that the U.S. remains focused on a two-state solution.

"I think it's a sabotage from within the Palestinian Authority," said Pinhas Inbari, senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. "Somebody who wanted to inflict damage on Abu Mazen and the negotiation team leaked it to al-Jazeera for this reason or another."

Unrelated to Wikileaks, the Palestine papers allegedly show the scale of proposed Palestinian concessions to the Israelis, including on the right of return for Palestinian refugees and cooperation with Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza two years ago.

But most shocking was a readiness to compromise on Jerusalem and even the Temple Mount.

Inbari said he has been reading the original documents. He told CBN News the way al-Jazeera presented the information positioned Abbas against the stance of Palestinian icon Yasser Arafat.

"Al-Jazeera put it in a way that they betrayed Arafat's legacy. In all points that Arafat refused to negotiate or to give into the Israelis, they were ready to go ahead with," Inbari said.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians had talked about land swaps but he said Abbas had refused to make far-reaching land deals in Jerusalem.

"East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state," he was quoted as saying "All of east Jerusalem."

Another P.A. official claimed in The Jerusalem Post that al-Jazeera had declared war on the Palestinians.

One of the immediate damages to the PA, Inbari said, is that while they are in the middle of a campaign to deligitimize Israel, they themselves are now being deligitimized.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was clear that even the more left-wing government of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni "did not manage to reach an agreement, including even the most painful concessions."

These leaks could be the last nail in the coffin of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. As Inbari put it, it's the end of secret diplomacy. From now on there's no more "double-talk."

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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