Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat – Palestinian chief negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat said that he was ready for any investigation, and that his entire department was working to uncover how the negotiating documents were leaked to Al Jazeera.
Erekat told Asharq Al-Awsat “I am not above the law and I – along with my department – are prepared to be investigated in order to find out how these documents were leaked, if they were truly leaked from my office.”
Answering a question as to whether the Palestinian Authority had truly formed a committee to investigate the leaks, Erekat said “I myself asked the president to form a committee in order to uncover how the documents were leaked.” Erekat also stressed that if any investigation is carried out, it will be dedicated to uncovering how these documents were leaked, and will not focus on the content of the documents themselves. He also accused Al Jazeera of distorting the documents in its possessions by quoting them outside of their proper context.
Erekat also asked “whose interests are being served by these documents being published at this time? I ask, in whose interest is it for this to happen at the same time that we are confronting the Israeli government and the US administration over negotiations and settlements and going to the UN? That is the question.”
Erekat stated that Al Jazeera “have twisted the words and distorted the truth.” As for the claims that he was prepared to do everything but convert to Zionism in order to secure an agreement with Israel, Erekat responded that “I said this in the context of rejecting the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. I told [former Israeli Foreign Minister] Tzipi Livni that anybody who recognizes Israel as a Jewish state would be a Zionists, and I am not a Zionists, and this is not how Al Jazeera have attempted to portray this incident.”
He added “what was published about [territory] exchange and Jerusalem was also not true, and I promise that the correct documents will be published after the necessary reviews.”
The Palestinians political scene was yesterday dealing with the fallout following the Al Jazeera leaks, and the Israeli Maarivi newspaper alleged that senior Fatah member Mohamed Dahlan was responsible for the documents being leaked, and that this was an attempt to undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
However the Palestinian Authority denied these reports, and in response to questions as to whether Dahlan is being investigated in this regard, PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said that “there is no truth to this accusation at all, we know how the leak took place…it was by junior staff members in the Negotiating Affairs department.” Abed Rabbo also strongly rejected these leaks being “the result of internal Palestinian conflict.”
Asharq Al-Awsat has learnt that initial investigations were being carried out into a young man and women who worked in the negotiating department and who were later arrested. There is strong suspicion that these two Palestinian Authority junior staff members were responsible for the leaks.
The Palestinian Authority has not taken any action against Al Jazeera in Ramallah, and Abed Rabbo stressed that “we will not transgress the lines drawn up by the law with regards to dealing with the media, and we will not take any actions against this channel [Al Jazeera].”