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Friday, January 28, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Report: Palestinians seen dropping plans for statehood declaration

JERUSALEM — The Palestinian Authority, discredited by secret negotiations documents, was expected to abandon its plan to unilaterally declare an independent state in the West Bank in 2011, a report said.


The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs said the 1,600 PA documents leaked to Qatar's A-Jazeera has damaged the reputation of the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Some of the documents already released reported PA acceptance of Israeli retention of Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the infeasibility of the Palestinian right of return.

"Now, after A-Jazeera has brainwashed Arab minds with charges of PLO treason, no declaration of statehood can be expected," the report, "The Palestine Papers: A-Jazeera Has an Agenda," said. "Neither will there be a resumption of negotiations with Israel since the Palestinian team will stick to the most hard-line positions possible."

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Authored by Israeli analyst Pinhas Inbari, the report said the leak of the documents from the the PA Negotiations Department has damaged the credibility of PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. Erekat and other PA officials have been called traitors who violated the strategy of the late PLO chairman Yasser Arafat.

"The PA sees the publication of the documents as an act of state espionage," the report said. "An open crisis broke out, with the PA accusing Qatar of treason for hosting the largest U.S. bases in the Middle East."

For his part, Erekat has acknowledged that the A-Jazeera leaks suspended the PA campaign to isolate Israel and gain international recognition of a Palestinian state. The report, however, did not expect a Palestinian backlash against the regime of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"If there is popular rage, it is against A-Jazeera, as seen in attacks on its property in Ramallah and in Tripoli, Lebanon," the report said.

The report said the documents, most of which appear genuine, also pointed to Israeli-PA cooperation to kill Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip. Inbari said this could "lead to a series of revenge attacks on an extended family basis that could drag on for generations."

The report said A-Jazeera has been heavily influenced by Palestinians who oppose any reconciliation with Israel. The satellite channel has come under the management of Wadah Khanfar, who the report describes as a radical Palestinian from Nablus.

"The Palestinian problem is seen as the main tool to trigger the 'Arab masses' to revolt throughout the region," the report said.

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