The Palestine Papers -- more than 1,600 internal Palestinian documents summarizing negotiations with Israel over the past decade -- are no "Palestinian WikiLeaks" aimed at bringing transparency and good government to the Palestinian Authority. Rather, they are a direct attack on the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), its negotiators, and the very idea of negotiating peace with Israel.
The documents were apparently provided to Al Jazeera by disgruntled Palestinians who set out to harm the PLO leadership and their peaceful path toward realizing Palestinian national goals. The Qatar-based satellite network has played along, insinuating that the documents show that the Palestinian leadership has proved weak and willing to capitulate to Israeli desires. On the documents pertaining to Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, it laments that Palestinian negotiators "gave away almost everything to the Israelis, without pressuring them for concessions or compromise."
Palestinian leaders have done a lamentable job of preparing their public for the types of concessions necessary for an enduring Israeli-Palestinian settlement. Accordingly, the far-reaching compromises that were under discussion will likely come as a shock to many on the streets of Ramallah and Hebron. The ensuing outrage, unfortunately, makes it possible that the leakers could sabotage the peace process, as they seem to have intended.