Al-Jazeera releases "Palestine Papers"

22:04, January 24, 2011      

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The Qatar-based broadcaster Al- Jazeera has launched new documents showing that the Palestinian Authority offered much bigger peace concessions to Israel than previously revealed.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat "had suggested unprecedented compromises on the division of Jerusalem and its holy sites," according to the documents.

But Israel rejected the offer, saying it did not meet their demands, the documents show.

Details of the proposals, laid out during peace talks in 2008, emerged late on Sunday when Al-Jazeera began publishing the first of 1,600 confidential documents known as the "Palestine Papers."

Al-Jazeera said it has obtained nearly 1,700 documents, maps and minutes of decade-long records of negotiations.

The Arab satellite news channel said the leaks cover more than 10 years of secret talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

The documents also show Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was warned in advance of Israel's 2008 invasion of Gaza.

Al-Jazeera did not say how it obtained the documents, however, it said Sunday on its website, "Over the last several months, Al- Jazeera has been given unhindered access to the largest-ever leak of confidential documents related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

The release of the so-called "Palestine Papers" comes just weeks after Wikileaks starting publishing some 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

The Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have reached a deadlock due to a dispute over Jewish settlement construction, with the Palestinians refusing to return to the negotiating table until Israel halts settlement building.

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