Mon, Jan 24, 2011 | CNN | By the CNN Wire Staff
Palestine Papers: “a First-Class Political Smear Campaign”
A CNN report:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lashed out Monday at Al-Jazeera, calling the Arabic TV network’s release of alleged secret documents from Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations “shameful.”
“The report aired by Al-Jazeera is an intentional mixing between the many Israeli proposals and the Palestinian positions,” Abbas said in Cairo, Egypt, in comments published by the Palestinian news agency Wafa.
“We do not have anything secret to hide,” he added. “All our negotiations and meetings and every issue discussed were presented to Arab countries with documents.”
In a statement Monday, Saeb Erekat said that
“a number of reports have surfaced regarding our positions in our negotiations with Israel, many of which have misrepresented our positions, taking statements and facts out of context. Other allegations circulated in the media have been patently false.”
He added, “Our position has been the same for the past 19 years of negotiations: We seek to establish a sovereign and independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and to reach a just solution to the refugee issue based on their international legal rights,” and any proposed agreement “would have to gain popular support through a national referendum.”
Abed Rabbo, one of Abbas’ top advisers, accused Al-Jazeera of a “smear campaign.”
“What happened is a manipulation of the documents and a misrepresentation of the facts and a true distortion, just for mockery and defiance,” Abed Rabbo told reporters.
“This is a first-class political smear campaign and the decision comes from the highest level in Qatar,” Rabbo said, adding sarcastically, “and we thank the emir of Qatar on his commitment to transparency and to deliver the truth to a wider audience.”
Referring to the “transparency” that Al-Jazeera said it was offering with its reporting, Rabbo added, “We hope that they extend this so-called ‘transparency’ to the greatest degree and address the role of the U.S. base in Qatar in spying on the Arab countries, and talk about Qatari relations with Iran and Israel.”
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a representative for the Middle East Quartet, told CNN he does not believe Abbas would offer as much territory as the documents suggest.
“The idea that the Palestinian leadership had been offering concessions fundamentally in disagreement with the international negotiation that’s known publicly is absurd,” he said, adding that Palestinian leaders have “been sometimes probably too emphatic for the rest of us in their defense of Palestinian interests.”
The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, weighed in as well.
“I can personally attest to the commitment of the Palestinian leadership to secure the legitimate rights and interests of the Palestinian people, based on international law and U.N. resolutions,” he said, as quoted by Wafa.
Read full article here. [CNN, Mon, Jan 24, 2011]