A former member of the PLO’s Negotiations Support Unit, Ziyat Clot, has confirmed that he was the source of January’s “Palestine Papers” leak of peace process documents. This revelation represents a kind of coda to George Mitchell’s resignation on Friday as US Mideast envoy, another sign of the demise of the peace process.
In an article published in The Guardian, Clot says he felt compelled to leak these documents because the peace process itself became harmful:
The “peace negotiations” were a deceptive farce whereby biased terms were unilaterally imposed by Israel and systematically endorsed by the US and EU. Far from enabling a negotiated and fair end to the conflict, the pursuit of the Oslo process deepened Israeli segregationist policies and justified the tightening of the security control imposed on the Palestinian population, as well as its geographical fragmentation. Far from preserving the land on which to build a state, it has tolerated the intensification of the colonisation of the Palestinian territory. Far from maintaining a national cohesion, the process I participated in, albeit briefly, was instrumental in creating and aggravating divisions among Palestinians. In its most recent developments, it became a cruel enterprise from which the Palestinians of Gaza have suffered the most. Last but not least, these negotiations excluded for the most part the great majority of the Palestinian people: the seven million Palestinian refugees. My experience over those 11 months in Ramallah confirmed that the PLO, given its structure, was not in a position to represent all Palestinian rights and interests.
Tragically, the Palestinians were left uninformed of the fate of their individual and collective rights in the negotiations, and their divided political leaderships were not held accountable for their decisions or inaction. After I resigned, I believed I had a duty to inform the public.
Shortly after the Gaza war I started to write about my experience in Ramallah. In my 2010 book, Il n’y aura pas d’Etat Palestinien (There will be no Palestinian State), I concluded: “The peace process is a spectacle, a farce, played to the detriment of Palestinian reconciliation, at the cost of the bloodshed in Gaza.” In full conscience, and acting independently, I later agreed to share some information with al-Jazeera specifically with regard to the fate of Palestinian refugee rights in the 2008 talks. Other sources did the same, although I am unaware of their identity. Taking these tragic developments of the “peace process” to a wider Arab and western audience was justified because it was in the public interest of the Palestinian people. I had – and still have – no doubt that I had a moral, legal and political obligation to proceed accordingly.