Here's the executive summary:
Earlier this year Al Jazeera released the “Palestine Papers” -- nearly 1,700 files of documents authored by Palestinian negotiators and advisors, memorializing a decade of Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East has carefully reviewed the Palestine Papers,including those documents concerning the comprehensive peace offer Israeli Prime Minister (“PM”)Ehud Olmert made in 2008.
There has been a good deal of “hype” and sensationalism surrounding the media coverage of the Palestine Papers. Therefore, it is important for the public to read the documents for themselves when making any assessment of the course of the actual negotiations.
Some news reports and articles about the Palestine Papers have “fail[ed] to differentiate between official positions and explorations or polemical rhetoric during the course of negotiations . . .” as former chief Palestinian negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat wrote in a recent article. In the words of Dr. Erekat, the “‘Palestine papers’ have not revealed a single official agreement or document that offers concessions.” (Id.) We agree.
In spite of claims by some commentators that there were “far reaching proposals” on each side, the Palestine Papers indicate that Palestinian Authority (“P.A.”) President Mahmoud Abbas did not make a counter-offer to Olmert’s “package offer” and so ultimately the possibility of a final status agreement in 2008 was allowed to die.