Sunday, January 23, 2011

Al-Jazeera and Britain’s Guardian newspaper release a set of documents written by Palestinian officials (the “Palestine Papers”) that they claim constitutes “the confidential record of 10 years of efforts to seek a peace agreement with Israel.” The more than 1,600 pages of documents dating from 1999 to 2010 are mostly from the PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. (PLONAD) and its successor body, the Negotiations Support Unit (NSU), headed by chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, and include memos, emails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high-level exchanges, strategy papers, and Power Point presentations. The papers apparently were leaked to al-Jazeera by several PLONAD/NSU staff. Timed with the release, al-Jazeera begins a 4-night series (1/23–26) of hour-long programs to discuss the contents of the leaked material thematically: Jerusalem and settlements, refugees and right of return, PA security coordination with Israel, and the negotiations process. (AP, Globe and Mail, Guardian, JAZ, NYT, REU 1/23; BBC, Guardian, HA, MM, NYT, WP 1/24; MM, NYT, WP 1/25; MM 1/26)

In the West Bank, the IDF opens fire at a car driving quickly toward a checkpoint nr. Hebron, wounding 2 unarmed Palestinians; conducts daytime incursions into 2 villages nr. Qalqilya searching shops and questioning Palestinians; conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and Qalqilya. Israeli border police for unknown reasons enter Haris village nr. Salfit, beating several Palestinians and firing on 1 man who attempts to flee, wounding a bystander. Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron attack Palestinian shepherds grazing sheep nearby and 2 Italian human rights activists protecting them; the IDF intervenes to arrest the 2 Italians. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on settlement nr. Hebron attack a Palestinian family living nr. the settlement, shooting dead a sheep and a dog, attacking cattle, and threatening to shoot 2 children. (PCHR 1/27; OCHA 1/28)