We can't think of a more apt way to describe the pickle Reuters correspondents find themselves in with the release of leaked documents supposedly detailing the substance of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. As we noted yesterday, the heavily coordinated position of Reuters correspondents in their torrent of stories since the release has been that the documents reveal the "substantial", "major", "big", "huge" "concessions" the Palestinian Authority was prepared to make in negotiations in order to arrive at a final settlement with Israel. At the same time however, Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh collates for us the jumble of denials and recriminations emanating from various PA and Fatah officials in response to the Al Jazeera report:There is no dilemma compared with that of the deep-sea diver who hears the message from the ship above, "Come up at once. We are sinking."
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in Cairo, accused Al- Jazeera of deliberately misleading viewers by mixing up Israeli proposals with Palestinian positions.
“This is shameful,” Abbas said after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “These documents are designed to create confusion. I saw them [Al-Jazeera] broadcast things that they attributed to Palestinians.
In fact, these were Israeli [proposals].”...
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top PLO official closely associated with Abbas, accused Al-Jazeera of taking sentences out of context.
“The goal behind the publication of these documents, which are known to all our people, is to distort the Palestinian position at a time when the Palestinian leadership is leading a conflict with the occupation in various international forums,” he said.
Abed Rabbo also accused Al-Jazeera of waging a well-organized campaign to distort the image of the Palestinians, and charged that this coincided with another campaign being waged by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discredit the PA leadership and convince ordinary Palestinians that their representatives don’t care about their interests. In addition, Abed Rabbo alleged that the campaigns targeted Abbas personally because of his refusal to negotiate with Israel while construction was continuing in the settlements...
Former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei, whose name appeared in the leaked documents as one of the negotiators who had offered to cede control of most of east Jerusalem to Israel, called for an emergency meeting of the PA leadership and the Arab League to discuss Al-Jazeera’s “fabrications” and “false accusations.”
Yes, Reuters correspondents are indeed faced with an unenviable dilemma: to continue with their long-standing public relations campaign on behalf of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority by insisting in story after story that these players are serious and laudable peace partners for Israel, offering "extraordinary concessions" but stymied by Israeli "instransigence", or, that in fact the entire lot of them -- Abbas, Rabbo, Qurei, and the rest of the crew in the PA and Fatah -- are simply lily-livered and dissimulating politicians willing to sell-out their "people" for a few pieces of silver while protecting their own arses when the shite hits the fan.A Fatah spokesman accused the network of trying to politically assassinate Abbas and vowed to foil its “conspiracy.”
The spokesman claimed that the documents leaked to Al-Jazeera were forgeries.
Which will it be Reuters? The ship is quickly sinking.