Tony Blair: Palestine papers harmful to Mideast peace process
Former British Prime Minister says papers, which reveal major concessions Palestinians made while negotiating with Israel, will hurt current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The leaking of the so-called Palestine Papers was designed to be "extremely damaging" to the peace process in the Middle East, former British prime minister Tony Blair said Friday.
The documents, which were leaked earlier this week to Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arab satellite station, and the Guardian in London, would be "destabilizing" for the Palestinians, Blair said in a BBC radio interview.
"I think it is hard to tell right now but its intention was to be extremely damaging," said Blair, who is a special envoy for the so-called Middle East Quartet.
The documents leaked this past week were just a few of the alleged 1,600 documents that Al Jazeera has and plans to release in the future.
They have thus far revealed that the Palestinians have agreed in past negotiations with Israel to serious concessions over core issues such as Jerusalem and the right of return.
"I think amongst Palestinians it is actually slightly less hyper, if you like, than it is elsewhere in the region," he said.
"I think most people when they sit back and they think about it, you would expect people negotiating, to be putting forward positions, taking them back," explained Blair.
"We couldn't have done the Northern Ireland peace process if the entire time everything was being put out there with frankly a pretty severe spin on it," he added.
"I think it is destabilizing for the Palestinians, however I think we have got to be big enough and strong enough to say 'OK, look, whatever Al-Jazeera are putting out we are just going to get on with making peace."