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The Palestine Papers: The ultimate confirmation

The cables released last night by Al Jazeera, which form the Palestine Papers, have provided ultimate confirmation of what many on the ground have known for some time – Israel is not interested in an equitable two state solution. Instead Israel is interested in maintaining the status quo, which necessarily means that both Palestinian and Israeli society will be in a permanent state of war. Control of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the separation of the West Bank from Gaza is the form of the Israeli-imposed one state solution. Crippling land annexation in the form of settlement expansion and development of Israeli infrastructure permanently change the facts on the ground while the United States, the main broker in the region, remains deftly silent. This continues while Israel informs the world that there is no Palestinian partner for negotiations and refuses to even provide documents detailing the Israeli bottom line.

This is not a new story, it has been happening for years. We now have ultimate confirmation that this is what was happening behind closed doors. However, I am left with a lingering and specific question regarding the United States. During negotiations regarding Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority was ready to give up part of the contentious East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Israel simply rejected the offer and began moving settlers into Palestinians homes in the neighborhood. Apparently the Israeli rationale was that the Palestinians were ready to give it up, might as well move settlers in, create facts on the ground and force them to ‘give up’ different territory. A simple land grab. What is striking is that the United States monitored this entire process. American officials were aware of the Palestinian offer and then watched in relative silence while Israel created a new settlement. Hilliary Clinton did deplore the actions of Israel in Sheikh Jarrah but the language was more tempered than that of the Europeans who literally watched the take over from their consulates in the neighborhood.

We are left with a number of revelations that are not surprising or new. Israel is not interested in an equitable two state solution, preferring a one state in which the Palestinians are controlled without democratic recourse. The Palestinian Authority is an effective instrument of Israeli occupation which is not representative of Palestinians. Finally, the United States is a dishonest broker who is acting like Israel’s lawyer and main supplier of aid. Again nothing new, now we just have concrete proof. These documents do not represent the death of the two state solution, they show that it never really began.

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    1. samah

      thanks for the article.. its 100% and we know it.. i wish the PA would just stop denying it and pretending to be shocked about the content of the papers.. as a palestinian who is relatively intelligent and who is modestly politically active, i am not surprised at all except by some of the people i know on facebook who are upset about AL Jazeera who just happened to find the “written” proof of the “oral” information that we already have suspected over for years now..
      anyways.. we are still focusing our attention on the wrong side.. if i were an israeli zionist, i would not want to have peace with the PA.. why should i ? really? day after day, with the level of corruption and mayhem that the PA is suffering from, i will just take what i want without asking and without apologizing and with pride.. and that is exactly what they have been doing for the past 100 and something years.. and we have been blessed with one idiot/collaborator after the other to counter-effect that..

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben Israel

      As you are a Palestinian, I don’t know your views on the history of this whole “peace process”, but we were always told by the Israeli “peace camp” that Arafat was the authentic, sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the PLO was the official body that was entitled to rule the Palestinians and that he was the only who could and would deliver peace. There were Israelis that denied this but they were accused of being warmongers and “anti-democratic”. Over and over we were told the only thing the Palestinians wanted was to be ruled by Arafat and the PLO. This was the democratic choice of the Palestinian people.
      Arafat was a well-known quantity, he had ruled states-within-states in Jordan and Lebanon and was instrumental in bringing about civil wars in both countries. The corruption of his FATAH-PLO partners was well-known. Thus, I am mystified why everyone is now complaining that the Palestinian Authority, which Arafat ruled for an iron hand with for 10 years and which is now run by his hand-picked successors who were his closest colleagues is now “corrupt” and “unrepresentative”. How can they claim that they didn’t know things would turn out this way. One popular way of denying the facts is to claim that “Arafat is okay, but the people around him are no-good” (this was also said about the Czar, Hitler, Nasser, Stalin, Mao and various other charismatic leaders in history). If Arafat is so good and popular, why would he allow bad people be around him.

      My last question regards HAMAS. Now they are viewed as the saviors of the “peace process” by the Israeli hard Left. But who says they are really any different, or any less corrupt than the FATAH the Left dreamed of 20 years ago?

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    3. Hassan I

      Ben – I agree with you, but as another Palestinian, I have been arguing for years that Arafat is not the sole representative of the Palestinian people ever since slow and painful disintegration of the two-state option with the signing of the Oslo Accords. It became clear that each successive Israeli government chose to colonize strategically important parts of the occupied territories, in order to maintain control over natural resources, borders, airspace etc… while giving a limited form of autonomy to densely populated Palestinian towns where colonization would prove difficult. This was the formula that Arafat was forced to work with the second he was transformed from a ‘terrorist’ to a ‘legitimate’ partner for peace by Israel and the International community. Dissenting Palestinian voices in his camp were silence or ostracized. Corruption and nepotism became rampant. To push Arafat into a position of ‘sole representative’, the US and Israel labeled his alternatives terrorist…and Israel and US do not ‘negotiate’ with ‘terrorists’.
      What Israel has always wanted was, and is, a Palestinian leader that is capable of selling the Israeli and US dictated “peace proposal” to his people. Arafat was dismissed as an obstacle to peace only when he could not, and the popular Marwan Barghouti was jailed to make way for the more pliant Abbas.

      I don’t believe Hamas are, or will be viewed as, the saviours… at least I cannot view them as such, especially since their stance has never supported the ‘peace process’ and don’t officially recognize Israel, only a long term truce based on the ’67 borders.

      Hamas may be less corrupt, but a Mulsim Palestinian State , is not a view that is very popular among mainstream Palestinians. Hamas has already shown its failure to live up to the commitments it made to the democratic ideals it chose to uphold by entering into the 2006 election… whether it is suppression of free speech or forcing women to wear the hijab or not allowing women to smoke in public or having to resort the Saudi Style ‘religious police’ to enforce policies…

      But sadly, I don’t see any alternative to the PA or Hamas for the time being!

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben, I know quite a few Israelis on the radical left and I have never heard any of them speak of Hamas as the saviours of anything – let alone the peace process. What letists are you talking about, and what exactly did you hear or read?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Lydda 48

      You mean Abu H’mar (aka, Arafat)? Has anyone ever asked the Palestinian people what they want? I don’t think so! So no Ben Is., Palestinians were not okay with Arafat.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ben Israel

      You asked me to tell you who I voted for and what my political views are. I was under no obligation to do that, but I did it anyway. So now, intead of either refuting or agreeing with what I wrote, you say “well what do you want, he is one of those lying, hasbarist religious National Union scum”. Why do you think so many Israelis who are not religious National Union-voting-lying scum hate the radical Left you represent?

      I see many in the far Left now saying the same things about HAMAS that were said about Arafat’s FATAH-PLO 25 years ago “they really deep down want peace, they are strong, they can make an agreement stick, once they have power they will be forced to become moderate and make peace, end the restricitions on Gaza…this will make them deal with governing Gaza so they will become more realistic, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

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    7. F

      Joseoh, you are grasping at nothing to attempt to vindicate your views, although you never actually present an argument as to why the palestine papers prove that israel wants one state, because there is no proof here. The “concessions” in which Israel would be allowed to keep jerusalem jewish areas like french hill, talpiot, and the jewish quarter of the old city have been part of every single peace proposal over the last 15 years including clinton parameters at camp david, taba, and the geneva initiative and according to chagrin swisher, even by yasser arafat himself. Did you really expect that the kotel and hebrew university were going to fall under palestinian rule?

      These papers prove that israel envisioned a palestinian state on 93-95% of the west bank with equivalent land swaps while the palestinians are looking at more like 98%. You also left out the part in the papers where erekat said that he believes israel does want a palestinian state. I would encourage you to bring more concrete proof for your assertions in your next article.

      All the best.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Ben Israel

      If we do not support or agree with our own religious right wing what makes you think that we would agree with the palestinian version of you guys ?

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    9. ” But sadly, I don’t see any alternative to the PA or Hamas for the time being! ”


      I dont see any alternative to those that control our lifes either :

      ” Israel’s right have eyes but do not see, have ears but do not hear ” ….

      ” While I cannot predict how and when exactly it will be, the day will come when Israel will awake from the nationalist and racist nightmare into which it has fallen. Until Israel’s electorate wakes up and understands that a sane government needs to be elected, it is up to Israel’s civil society to keep alive the vision of what Israel can become. ”

      Best I can suggest is to live in hope for a better tomorrow for all of us and wish you shalom/salaam .

      Reply to Comment
    10. Ben Israel

      A lot of “Leftists” or “Progressives” support HAMAS. For example, Prof. Judith Butler, a prominent Jewish activist for BDS in the US has said that “HIZBULLAH and HAMAS are Leftist-Progressive movements”. Here is an example:


      I think if you were to ask her how she can consider groups that both you and I consider to be reactionary (do we agree on that at least?) she would answer that it is Israel’s fault they are like that and once the occupation ends, they will become more like Swedish Social Democrats which is, deep down, what the Palestinians really want to be, as she sees it.

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    11. zvi

      @Ben Israel, anyone who thinks that Hamas and Hizbollah are some version of a Scandinavian social welfar party is extremely naive. That being said, they are providing much-needed social services which their governments have been unwilling or neglectful of providing. Shas plays a similar role in Israel (but without the military wing). That is why these parties are widely supported.

      I hope that all of us can agree that the only way for peace to truly take hold will be when the “average” Israeli makes peace with the “average” Palestinian. At the moment, the “average” Israeli tends to support the rightist-nationalist bloc, and the

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    12. zvi

      And the “average” Palestinian is rather disgusted with their leadership (including all the way back to Arafat). The first Intifadah destroyed any myths about “leadership in exile”.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Ben Israel

      The Nazi Party in Germany conducted a large-scale social welfare program. Don’t forget that the word “socialist” was part of the party’s name. Yet I don’t think Prof Butler would call them “Progressive”. I would think that to be “Progressive” and truly “socialist” it is necessary to do more than give handouts to poor people. As you said SHAS does as well, and no one here at “972” would call them “Progressive”. So what makes HAMAS and HIZBULLAH “progressive”. My guess is that HAMAS and HIZBULLAH are opposed to the same people Butler is…i.e. the US, Zionism, etc.

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    14. “So what makes HAMAS and HIZBULLAH “progressive”.

      Hamas and Hizbullah are as ” progressive ” as Kach and Moshe Feiglin are .

      Reply to Comment
    15. Y.

      Dana writes: “The cables released last night by Al Jazeera, which form the Palestine Papers, have provided ultimate confirmation of what many on the ground have known for some time – Israel is not interested in an equitable two state solution.”

      I think Saeb Erikat had a better description of the negotiations in the papers: “Israelis want the two state solution but they don’t trust. They want it more than you think, sometimes more than Palestinians”[1].

      The key word is therefor ‘equitable’. The Israeli maximum is very far from the PA minimum and vice versa, and that’s without considering the offering even less than the Clinton Parameters is considered ‘selling the farm’ and illegitimate on the Palestinian side.


      Reply to Comment