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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Al Jazeera continues to allege facts that aren't in the PalPapers

Whether or not the "Palestine Papers" truthfully reflect what happened in closed-door negotiations, what is clear is that The Guardian and Al Jazeera are reporting their own spin rather than facts.

"Electronic Intifada" founder and NYT darling Ali Abunimah writes in Al Jazeera:

PA lobbying blocked Shalit swap

The PA blocked potential prisoner swaps that would have freed thousands of Palestinians and Shalit.

Analysis of secret minutes of meetings between top Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials revealed in The Palestine Papers shows that strenuous PA lobbying likely torpedoed the deal in mid-2008 with the result that far fewer Palestinian prisoners have been released by Israel.
But he brings no proof to this. He points to memos that show that the PA was unhappy with Israel releasing Hamas prisoners for Shalit, saying that Hamas would be strengthened. Israel agrees that a swap would help Hamas politically but Livni continuously pushes back saying that they want Shalit and there is no way to avoid that unfortunate consequence. They go on to find ways to strengthen the PA simultaneously by releasing Fatah members from prison - which they even did.

Abunimah brings no memos that indicate that the PA's efforts stopped any Shalit deal. In fact, the very idea is absurd. Israel would never scuttle a deal to get Shalit back because of PA objections!

If one is to believe the spin given to the Palestine Papers by The Guardian and Al Jazeera, the PA had no power and Israel ran roughshod over every one of their requests. Yet now Al Jazeera is claiming that the PA had veto power over an issue that is hugely important to Israel and only peripherally related to the negotiations.

Abunimah writes his counter-factual screed to blame the PA for blocking the release of thousands of Hamas prisoners. Yet these same memos show that 198 were released just by the PA asking Israel to do so, and giving nothing in return. (Abunimah calls them "symbolic.")

The release of these papers proves what we have seen time and time again. Conspiracy theorists will spin their stories regardless of facts and common sense, and the PalPapers are simply a treasure trove of new data to be twisted to fit already-existing fantasies.