Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat (picture) offered Israel "the biggest Yerushaliyam [Jerusalem] in history," documents leaked to the Qatar-based TV network Al-Jazeera reveal.
Al-Jazeera and the newsdpaper The Guardian are releasing 1,676 documents including minutes, emails, reports and maps related to ten years (2001-2010) of negotiations between Israel and the PLO, the largest leak in the history of the conflict, over a four-day period, in a way that resembles in many aspects the Wikileaks process.
Al Jazeera on Sunday revealed that while publicly condemning settlements, in private Erekat offered to make all of them (except one, Har Homa - Jebel Abu Gheneim) in Jerusalem permanent , giving up the Palestinian claim to much of the occupied city.
"This is the first time in Palestinian-Israeli history in which such a suggestion is officially made," Erakat said of the proposal that was never publicly revealed. Israel rejected the offer.
First Palestinian reactions to this 'Palestine papers' leak were one of shock, horror and anger. Israeli criticws of the government in Jerusalem said that it showed that the Israeli's had 'a partner for peace' after all but never grabbed the opportunities offered to them, which confirmed presumptions that Israel was not serious about achieving a deal. Some people also assumed that the leaks will have consequences for the Palestinian Authority, or at least its chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, and maybe also for what with a euphemism is still called 'the peace process'.
(More about this in the next few days).