The Palestine Papers and The Enemy Within

When it seemed that nothing could top the surprised havoc wreaked by Julian Assange and the flow of WikiLeaks, a leak from an unknown source has rocked the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

By ‘rocked’, I mean prodded the decaying corpse that was once named ‘hope’ and paraded the strident spectre of ‘betrayal’ with all the pomp and show of an international Morris Men convention.

For 63 years the Palestinian people have prayed, fought, lost, revolted, hoped and lost again.

The Palestinian cause is admired due to the tenacity of the Palestinians themselves: they are a testament to the strength and courage of humankind.

Of course, many will counter that it is these attributes that render the Israelis equally remarkable – to this, each to their own.

The Palestine Papers contain revelations, yet most shocking of all is the realization that the enemy is not so much the Israelis, but the Palestinian Authority.

Never has the adage ‘who needs enemies when you have friends (leaders) like these’ been truer.

As a blogger I have lamented and condemned the acts of occupation and violence meted out by the Israeli state, the settlers and the IDF.

They have, undoubtedly, committed mass abrogations of human rights.

However, their actions have been guided by the same desire as that which guides the Palestinians: they are fighting for their land.

Whether it is Israeli or Palestinian land is questionable – what is certain is that both sides believe with every fibre of their being that the other is wrong.

Which is why the news that members of the Palestinian Authority were willing to concede so much, so easily, is unpalatable.

The Israelis have their own cause; what happened to the Palestinians?

Most offensive is the Senior Palestinian Negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who barters the land akin to the cheapest, widely-lapelled real estate agent:

We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). […] It is no secret that on our map we proposed we are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim in history. […] the Haram can be left to be discussed – there are creative ways, having a body or a committee, having undertakings for example not to dig. The only thing I cannot do is convert to Zionism. Even the Old City can be worked out except the Haram and what they call Temple Mount. There you need the creativity of people like me. [Source]

If the bile is rising, be assured this is but the most elementary of Erekat’s grovelling.

Released primarily by Al Jazeera and latterly The Guardian, other points include:

How Israeli leaders privately asked for some Arab citizens to be transferred to a new Palestinian state;

The intimate level of covert co-operation between Israeli security forces and the P.A.;

The central role of British intelligence in drawing up a secret plan to crush Hamas in the Palestinian territories;

How Palestinian Authority leaders were privately tipped off about Israel’s 2008-2009 war in Gaza.

The latter is the most horrific of all.

Over the coming days more documents will be released and the peace process (R.I.P.) will quiver in tatters.

And this time, it will not be the Israelis to blame.

It will be the Palestinian leaders, who have shattered the confidence bestowed by the people through their wanton ambition.

Yes, the concessions would have sped along the process, but at what price?

If they cannot be loyal to themselves, they should be to the people.

Without loyalty, they affirm their position as marionettes and the process becomes the very ‘theater’ that Erekat calls the Palestine Papers.

5 comments on “The Palestine Papers and The Enemy Within

  1. Pingback: Who’s afraid of a Palestinian State? « GLORIA MUNDI

  2. Bob Row
    January 25, 2011

    Hi, Layla! I was lucky to find your post through the WP tag surfer and linked it. I’m an Argentinean Jew (of the old atheist stock) who happen to have being living in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv before 1980.
    I was active at the first Israeli Peace Camp incarnation, then called Mahane Sheli, together with Uri Avnery and others. My concern at that time was that Palestine people frustration cleared the field for a radical islamist movement in the near future.
    My Israeli comrades, regrettably, were too confident in the predominant secularism of the PLO. What we didn’t know at that time was that Israeli rightist governments where about to fund the Muslim Brotherhood clergy to ease their influence on the Palestinian constituency. Would you call it corruption on the part of the Hamas founders receiving those funds? They play the intransigent role convenient to Israeli propaganda, don’t you think?
    Of course, I found the “napkin maps” in Al Jazeera site quite preposterous. My point is: isn’t all this “Palestinian Papers” affair a chance to de-legitimate Israeli propaganda instead of just bashing the PA?. My best.

    • Layla
      January 25, 2011

      Thank you, Bob – I find your second point (regarding Hamas and Israeli funding) fascinating, as I am not familiar with that fact. I think, had it been as widely known due to the proliferation of information that we have today, the credibility of Hamas would be lessened. Whether ‘corruption’ would be the right word in that instance is questionable, though. The problem with the Fatah government is its track record to date: as loolt notes below, its legitimacy has been questioned all too frequently (for many regard it as unelected) and true corruption abounds.

      The notion of the Palestine Papers de-legitimising Israeli propaganda is interesting – particularly as the Palestinian side is claiming that the points were raised by the Israelis, and not Erekat et al, as claimed.

      Whether said points can be regarded as useful suggestions or disappointing (proposed) concessions depends on our individual perceptions.

  3. loolt
    January 25, 2011

    errr, I would disagree on the point that the Palestinians had bestowed their trust on the PA. They played a dirty political game at the last elections which meant that the Palestinians did not get what they wanted. No one though I think realised the extent to which they were ready to ‘compromise’. Of course they should be loyal to their people though! You ask a good question though, what happened to the Palestinians that their leaders felt they could get away with such an atrocity…?

    • Layla
      January 25, 2011

      Yes – you have captured what went unsaid, but I rather hoped was known or implied, loolt 🙂 It is how far they went that is shocking; there are degrees of transgression and they far surpassed that which the people considered them capable of.

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