Newsletter : 11fx0125.txt
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Palestinian Leaders Dispute Leaked Papers
By Luis Ramirez (VOA-Jerusalem)
Palestinian leaders are rejecting reports aired by al-Jazeera that quotes what the
network says are hundreds of leaked Palestinian documents that show Palestinian
negotiators offered significant concessions to Israel on land and refugee issues during
negotiations in 2008.
The documents quoted conversations by Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. officials that
suggested the Palestinian negotiators were, among other things, willing to hand over all
but one of the Jewish settlements adjacent to Jerusalem that sit on land claimed by the
On one of the most sensitive of the issues, the network quoted the papers as saying
Palestinian negotiators proposed allowing the compound where the al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's
third holiest site is, come under international control temporarily while a permanent
agreement is reached.
The Palestinian Fatah movement in Jerusalem was among the factions responding to the
report. Its leader, Hatem Abdel Khader, spoke on Palestinian radio. He said this area is
the most important place for Arab Muslims in Jerusalem. He also said no one has a right to
give up the land because it is ground that is holy to Islam.
The documents, if true, could undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who some
Palestinians already perceive as one who is weak and willing to make too many concessions
Palestinian officials have denied the reports and are calling for independent
verification of the papers, which one senior official described as being full of lies and
Abbas aide Yasser Abed Rabbo on Monday accused the al-Jazeera network of misleading
viewers. Hundreds of Abbas supporters rallied outside the network's office in the West
Bank town of Ramallah, smashing windows and cameras before police intervened.
The United States, a broker of the negotiations, said Washington could not vouch for
the veracity of the documents. Reports on the papers have fueled the frustration that many
Palestinians feel about the failure of Abbas' leadership to reach an agreement and end the
Abu Issa is a shopkeeper at the Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp bordering Pizgat Zeev,
one of the Jewish areas that the Palestinian leadership allegedly offered to let Israel
annex. He said he considers any handover unthinkable and was especially angered by the
suggestion that the Israelis offered nothing in return.
Issa said he has known all along that the negotiators have been talking for almost 20
years and have nothing to show for it. He said he believes there will be no peace with the
Israelis. He thinks the Israeli people want peace, but believes their government does
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the documents support his belief that a
permanent peace agreement is not possible, and that Israel should pursue only an interim
Hamas, the rival terrorist Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, on Monday said the
documents quoted by al-Jazeera show the Palestinian leadership under Abbas has surrendered
Abbas said the report about Palestinian concessions made during the course of peace
talks in 2008 and 2009 is a "mix-up," adding e thinks the documents were altered
intentionally before they were leaked to Al Jazeera. He said the Palestinian Authority has
"nothing to hide" when it comes to peace negotiations and that the Palestinians discuss
details with other Arab nations.
The Qatar-based Al Jazeera said it will publish other documents in the coming days
highlighting more concessions on sensitive issues such as the right of return for
Palestinian refugees and the proposed international control of Jerusalem's key holy sites.
According to the documents, Israeli leaders turned down the offers, saying they were
The nearly 1,700 files cover an 11-year period from 1999 to 2010 and have been
described by Al Jazeera as the largest leak of confidential documents related to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Al Jazeera has shared the documents with Britain's The
Guardian newspaper, which says it has verified most of them.
In the documents, Qurei describes the territorial concessions in East Jerusalem as
enabling population exchanges needed for a future Palestinian state in the West Bank and
Leaked minutes from the June 2008 meeting quote Qurei as saying this is "the first time
in history" the Palestinians had made such a proposal. He added that the Palestinians had
refused to make such a concession during negotiations led by the late Palestinian
President Yasir Arafat in 2000.
On the refugee issue, the files say the Palestinians secretly agreed that Israel would
accept 10,000 refugees a year for 10 years a total of 100,000.
This contradicts the Palestinians' public position that all refugees from the 1948-49
war and their descendants several million people have the right to return to
Israel. The Israeli government has always rejected this demand as a threat to the Jewish
character of their state.
IAF: Samson will Replace the Rhino
They are known as "Hercules" in the U.S. and as "Karnaf," Hebrew for "rhinoceros," in
the IAF. Now the veteran cargo planes are being upgraded from the C-130 to the C-130J
model, and the IAF has decided to name the new version after biblical hero Shimshon
The choice of "Shimshon" is a meaningful moment in the history of IAF plane names,
Major Alon explained on the IAF website. In honoring a biblical Israelite hero, it breaks
with the IAF tradition of naming planes for birds, animals or natural phenomena like
storms, lightning and thunder. Maj. Alon, Deputy Commander of the Atalef (Bat) Squadron,
was put in charge of choosing the new name by the Nevatim Air Force Base.
The name, he said, "was chosen because Shimshon is the biblical parallel of Hercules
from Greek mythology, after whom the plane is named in English." Other finalists in the
naming process were "Pereh" (wild donkey) and "Shor" (bull)."The competition was tough and
close until the last moment. But in the end, we reached agreement and a new name was
The new C-130J reaches higher speeds than the regular Karnaf, Maj. Moshe, Project
Officer in Plane Planning Department, told the IAF website. "It can reach a greater range,
carry a heavier payload and reach higher altitudes. A variety of assignments can be
executed in a better fashion and with less planes than were needed in the past."
The Shimshon boasts advanced digital systems. "This is a meaningful and radical
change," Moshe explained. "We are going from the old age of transport planes and leaping
several generations forward."
While resembling the C-130 on the outside, the C-130J (Shimshon) is a completely
different plane on the inside. The wiring systems, avionics, steering and wings have all
been replaced with newer and more sophisticated systems containing advanced technologies.
There are currently 200 such planes operating worldwide, in the air forces of the U.S.,
Britain, Australia and Canada, among other countries.
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