Palestine Papers: 5 disclosures that are making waves
Al Jazeera’s trove of documents on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which the news organization has dubbed the “Palestine Papers,” landed with a resounding thud on desks in Jerusalem and Ramallah yesterday. Here are some of the claims they contain that are already making waves in regional capitals.
The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount
Al Jazeera says it has obtained minutes of a meeting between Erekat and US Mideast Envoy George Mitchell. In the minutes, Erekat appears to propose allowing some sort of international control of the holy site that Jews call the Temple Mount (because they believe it was the site of the destroyed Second Temple) and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary or Haram al-Sharif (because they believe it’s the site from which the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven and received instructions from God).
In the meeting, Erekat tells Mitchell that the Palestinians are also willing to cede control of the Jewish and Armenian Quarters of the Old City, which surrounds the religious sites, to Israel. He doesn’t explicitly say that international administration of the holy sites is what he has in mind, but that’s the strong implication. There “are creative ways, having a body or a committee, having undertakings, for example, not to dig. The only thing I cannot do is convert to Zionism.”
The entire Old City is now on the Israeli side of the 1967 Green Line, and the kinds of concessions indicated in the meeting would be major ones. They may also infuriate Palestinians who see the status of the Old City as non-negotiable.