posted on Tue 1 Feb 2011 8:15 PM
Insights on Media Coverage of the Palestine Papers

Sourced with articles from AFP, Al-Jazeera, Christian Science Monitor (US), Daily Star (Lebanon), Financial Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, Guardian (UK), Haaretz (Israel), Time Magazine (US) and Xinhua.

The release by al-Jazeera of the ‘Palestine Papers’ provided a rare public airing of the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

In the leaked documents, one senior US official seemingly confirms long-standing claims of human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has kidnapped and tortured Hamas members in order to gain security intelligence for Israel.

This would seem to add credence to Hamas’ assertion that the PA is hampering Palestinian reconciliation efforts.

In response to these allegations of torture, European policymakers may begin to question the EU’s financial support of what some are calling a Palestinian police state.

On the ground, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza had mixed reactions to the Papers themselves.

The news that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was willing to negotiate away the right of return for refugees may further undermine his credibility and ultimately affect his ability to negotiate a final peace deal with Israel.

US negotiating tactics are coming under additional scrutiny with suggestions that American backing of the “Road Map for Peace” and its terms of reference may not be as strong under Obama as it was under Bush.

The Papers may also impact Israel’s leaders by increasing political pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to construct more Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Also of note is the PA’s recent decision to hold municipal elections, which conspicuously will not include parliamentary or presidential polls. While an Abbas aide says the split between the West Bank and Gaza precludes such an election in 2011, at least one major media outlet links staunch US opposition to changes in PA leadership to Abbas’ retraction of his 2009 call for elections.