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Palestine papers: Will a big scoop change business as usual?

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Al Jazeera says it has a trove of more than 1,600 memos, diplomatic dispatches, and internal notes from Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the past decade. Al Jazeera, which isn't saying where it got the documents, started to release stories based on them yesterday afternoon and will carry on until the 26th. It has also shared the documents with The Guardian, which is running some of its own coverage.

The immediate effect has been a WikiLeaks-like explosion of media commentary and public fascination in the Middle East, with the curtain pulled back on how the diplomatic sausage is being made. From the Arab and Palestinian publics' perspective, the documents – which Palestinian Authority leaders say are mostly forgeries – are deeply unflattering to Mahmoud Abbas and his senior negotiators, with private offers of major compromises over the status of East Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees that went nowhere and starkly contradict their public positions.

Correspondent Josh Mitnick wrote in the Monitor today that the release is likely to be damaging to Abbas' own standing.


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