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'Palestine Papers,' Day Two: Leaders 'Gave Up Fight Over Refugees'

Palestinian police officers blocked the entrance to the Al-Jazeera TV office, after protesters vandalized it, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday (Jan. 24, 2011).
Majdi Mohammed
/
AP
Palestinian police officers blocked the entrance to the Al-Jazeera TV office, after protesters vandalized it, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday (Jan. 24, 2011).

This morning's headlines from the news outlets that have the so-called Palestine Papers — thousands of previously secret documents that, as correspondent Alan Greenblatt wrote for NPR.org, allegedly reveal Palestinian thinking during a decade of negotiations with Israel:

— Al Jazeera: The Palestinian Authority has been " selling short the refugees."

The Guardian: "Papers reveal how Palestinian leaders gave up fight over refugees."

And here's how the Guardian sums up its story:

"Palestinian negotiators privately agreed that only 10,000 refugees and their families, out of a total refugee population exceeding 5 million, could return to Israel as part of a peace settlement, leaked confidential documents reveal. PLO leaders also accepted Israel's demand to define itself as an explicitly Jewish state, in sharp contrast to their public position."

The Associated Press reports about some of the reaction:

"Gaza's Hamas rulers on Tuesday accused their pragmatic Palestinian rivals of treason after an Arab satellite channel citing leaked documents said they were ready to accept a return of only a symbolic number of refugees in Israel. ...

"The revelations about the refugee issue are seen as potentially the most damaging to [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas and his aides, because they suggest a large gap between what the Palestinian public was told and what was said behind closed doors in Israeli-Palestinian meetings. ...

"After the initial broadcast on Sunday evening, Abbas aides challenged the authenticity of some of the documents and said quotes were taken out of context, as part of what they described as a smear campaign against the West Bank leadership. Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator, reiterated those allegations Tuesday."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.