RAMALLAH, January 24 (JMCC) - The leaking of hundreds of documents illustrating talks between Palestinians and Israelis over the last ten years poses a political challenge to the Palestinian leadership, analysts agree. PLO
official Yasser Abed Rabbo
went so far as to charge al-Jazeera satellite channel, which published the secret papers, with attempting the political assassination of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas
But the question remains whether the leaks will have a lasting impact on Palestinian public opinion, which already has a negative view of Palestinian-Israeli talks.
I don't see any indication of a revolt against the Palestinian Authority
, says analyst George Giacaman. He cited the Palestinian Authority's increasing of social welfare as a stop-gap against a Tunisia-style revolution against the Palestinian leadership.
Mass demonstrations in Tunisia have resulted in the overthrow of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and the rest of the Arab world has watched closely as protests spilled over to Algeria and Yemen.
Most Palestinians are disappointed in the Palestinian leadership both in Gaza
and the West Bank
, explains pollster Nabil Kukali. Each faction has its own agenda when what we need is unity. But Palestinians are not ready for a revolt. There is still some hope in the Palestinian Authority.
A spokesperson for the Palestinian Peoples Party
was less complacent. The documents are real and reveal a big defect in the negotiating process, said Hanna Nurah of the international relations department. We are still waiting to see the outcome of these documents.
An Israeli observer suggested that the greatest threat to the Palestinian leadership as a result of the leak could be the leak itself, with Israeli and American officials no longer having faith that negotiations are truly secret.
The Palestinian Authority needs to find out who is leaking these documents, said Gershon Baskin of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information. It weakens the Palestinian ability to negotiate. These are sensitive meetings.