Monday 24 January 2011
Palestinian negotiators privately agreed that only 10, 000 refugees and their families – out of a total refugee population exceeding 5 million – could return to Israel as part of a peace settlement, leaked confidential documents reveal. PLO leaders also accepted Israel’s demand to define itself as an explicitly Jewish state, in sharp contrast to their public position.The latest disclosures from thousands of pages of secret Palestinian records of more than a decade of failed peace talks, obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared exclusively with the Guardian, follow a day of shock and protests in the West Bank, where Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders angrily denounced the leaks as a “propaganda game”. The documents have already become the focus of controversy among Israelis and Palestinians, revealing the scale of official Palestinian concessions rejected by Israel, but also throwing light on the huge imbalance of power in a peace process widely seen to have run into the sand.
The latest documents to be released reveal:
• The-then Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, repeatedly pressed in 2007-08 for the “transfer” of some of Israel’s own Arab citizens into a future Palestinian state as part of a land-swap deal that would exchange Palestinian villages now in Israel for Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Continue reading