The unusual suspects

Posted on 28 January 2011

According to Ha’aretz, the people behind The Palestine Paper leaks are Clayton Swisher, Alastair Crooke (whom I personally remember well from the Nativity Church siege) and a nameless French national.

Saeb Erekat says he’s asked the relevant countries to conduct an investigation, but also says that he’s “not accusing them of wrongdoing”. Erekat and others in the Palestinian leadership have been fingered by the papers as capitulating to and collaborating with Israel, and over the last few days have angrily referred to the leaks as “lies, fabrications and half truths”. Hmmm. Something about it doesn’t seem quite right.

Across the West Bank, at least, people do not seem to be looking that far away for the culprit. The likelihood is that whoever leaked the papers is still a lot closer to home. But the truth is probably going to be as elusive as peace. Still, the purpose was to destabilise an already fractured leadership. There’s a number of people wanting power and waiting in the wings.

The leaks have certainly caused a rift between factions that is unlikely to heal. But in the long-term, the Palestinian people will be the losers. Erekat, Abbas, Qurei: they’ve plenty of money and contacts. Their future is not really in jeopardy, despite their protestations. It’s the Palestinian people who are the losers in all of this. As usual, they are pawns in a nasty power game.

The media in the Middle East is focusing on the PA and its betrayal of the people it was supposed to represent. The media in the West has moved on to the next story. Israel, who should come out of the leaks looking very dirty, has escaped almost unscathed. So it seems we are back to square one: no peace process, no credible representatives on any side, and no hope for the future.

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