Leaks stir up Arab anger, show what peace deal needs | Pakistan Today

Leaks stir up Arab anger, show what peace deal needs

CAIRO – Leaked documents that show Palestinians had made major concessions to Israel on occupied East Jerusalem have infuriated many Arabs who fear their rights to the holy city are being sold too cheaply.
Some Arab analysts said the documents, published by Al Jazeera television, did not differ markedly from offers discussed in previous peace talks over the years and showed the kind of concessions needed for any settlement. But ordinary Arabs, many of them angered by their leaders, who they feel, are too ready to capitulate to the US and Israeli demands, still voiced fury about the content of leaks that touch on issues sensitive to many across the Middle East. “Of course Mahmoud Abbas could have done this because he wants to deepen roots between him and Israel,” said Ismail Hussein, an Egyptian bank employee, adding that such concessions would turn Palestinians against their president. Another Egyptian, Salah Hasheesh, said: “If he did this, they are selling themselves cheaply.” But he also said the reports might have been concocted to undermine President Abbas.
The fate of East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and home to Muslim and Jewish holy sites, is seen by many as an Islamic not just Palestinian issue. The future of Palestinian refugees expelled from land in 1948 also has a broader impact “First, Jerusalem is an Islamic issue. Second, the refugees are an Arab issue because the Arab countries have a clear opinion, and want to know what the concessions are going to be, whether they can settle in their country or not, or when they can go back,” said Dubai-based Mustafa Alani.
Many Palestinians fled to Arab states after Israel was founded and many of their descendants still live as refugees. “On these two issues, no Palestinian leadership can give concessions on,” said Alani of the Gulf Research Centre. One document quoted Chief Palestinian negotiator Saed Erekat as telling an Israeli official: “It is no secret that …we are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim in history.” He used the Hebrew word for Jerusalem. Equally infuriating to many Palestinians, who want to create a state on land Israel seized in a 1967 war, is the fact that Israel offered nothing in return for the concessions and turned down their offer, saying it did not go far enough. Some analysts said the leaked documents were not so different from the starting point for peace negotiations over the years, and which Palestinians had publicly accepted as the principles for talks.

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