Abbas: Concessions in Palestine Papers Came From Israel, Not Us

PA president says that the documents leaked by Al-Jazeera purposely reverse the Israeli and Palestinian positions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday denied offering secret concessions to Israel and said that reporting of purportedly leaked documents had presented Israeli positions as those of his own negotiators.

"What is intended is a mix-up. I saw them present things yesterday as Palestinian, but they were Israeli ... This is therefore intentional," Abbas told reporters in Cairo after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"We say things very clearly, we do not have secrets." Abbas stressed.

Al -Jazeera television published on Sunday what it said were extracts of 1,600 documents it had obtained that cover Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in recent years.

Mahmoud Abbas AP August 8, 2010

The Palestine papers thus far have revealed that the Palestinians have previously agreed to serious concessions, such as secret compromises over core issues such as Jerusalem and refugees.

Abbas said he has kept Arab countries fully briefed on the negotiations with Israel.

Quickly following the release of the documents on Al-Jazeera TV, the Palestinians denied the reports, saying that parts of the documents were fabricated.

The chief Palestinian negotiator in the 2008 talks, Ahmed Qureia, told The Associated Press that "many parts of the documents were fabricated, as part of the incitement against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership."

He denied making an offer about the Jewish enclaves in East Jerusalem, claiming that Israel refused to discuss the issue.

The current chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, dismissed the TV report as "lies and half truths."

Abbas told Egyptian newspaper editors in Cairo on Sunday that he kept the Arab League updated on all details of the negotiations with Israel, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa. "I don't know where Al-Jazeera came from with secret things," Abbas was quoted as saying. "There is nothing we hide from our brothers, the Arabs."

Al-Jazeera said the Palestinians offered to let Israel keep all but one of the Jewish enclaves it build in east Jerusalem after capturing it in the 1967 Mideast war. About 200,000 Israelis live there now.

In return, according to the quoted documents, the Palestinians wanted Israeli land, including a section close to the West Bank-Israel line where many of Israel's minority Arab citizens live.

Also, they proposed international control of the key Jerusalem holy site as a temporary measure. The Palestinians, Israel, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan would administer the site where the Al Aqsa Mosque compound sits atop the ruins of the biblical Jewish temples, until Israel and the Palestinians could work out a permanent arrangement.

On the issue of refugees, the documents said the Palestinians agreed that Israel would take in 10,000 refugees a year for 10 years — a total of 100,000. The Palestinians have insisted that all refugees from the 1948-49 war and their descendants — several million people — have the right to return to Israel. The Israelis have always rejected that as a threat to the Jewish character of the state.

The peace talks referred to in the documents went through 2008 but ended without agreement when Israel attacked Gaza to try to stop daily rocket barrages by Palestinian militants on the strip.