Brog's Blog

January 25, 2011

The Palestine Papers – Nothing New Under the Sun

Filed under: All Posts — brogsblog @ 11:37 pm

For the past couple of days, Israel’s critics have been in full drama mode while reporting what they view as a significant new disclosure. Following closely on the heels of Wikileaks, the Al Jazeera network has received over 1,600 documents leaked by a source in the Palestinian Authority. These documents – already known as the “Palestine Papers” — purport to demonstrate the concessions the Palestinians were willing to make during peace negotiations with Israel in 2008. Many commentators have reacted to this disclosure by jumping to the irrational conclusion that if the Palestinians agreed to some concessions- no matter how few-  then the Israelis must be to blame for the failure to reach a peace deal.

Yet the Palestine Papers contain nothing that is new or surprising. The only surprise is the rapidity with which the media has mischaracterized their significance, and the speed with which the Palestinians have denied their validity.

Here’s what we know. In 2008, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians an independent state in all of Gaza and over 93.5 percent of the West Bank. He offered them land swaps from Israel to make up for the less than 6.5 percent of the West Bank they would not receive. He also offered them half of Jerusalem. By some accounts, the Palestinians turned this offer down. By other accounts, they simply never responded to it.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (left) with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2008.

Nothing in the Palestine Papers contradicts this narrative. Instead, these documents make the rather underwhelming disclosure that the Palestinians were prepared to accept some of the compromises suggested by Israel while rejecting others. In particular, it appears that the Palestinians were willing to let Israel keep the parts of Jerusalem with a Jewish majority and to give up the claim that all Palestinians refugees must be free to return to Israel. That’s great. But no one ever claimed that the Palestinians rejected all of the compromises offered by Israel. And accepting some compromises while rejecting others does not a peace agreement make. What is significant – and hardly news – is that the Palestinians ultimately rejected the deal.

This does not mean that the Palestine Papers have failed to provide surprises. But the surprises have come not from their content, but from the Palestinian reaction to their public disclosure. It has indeed been surprising – and quite disappointing – to see these relatively moderate men deny that they were willing to accept these necessary compromises on Jerusalem and refugees. They must deny such compromises because – as they well know – their public is not yet ready to accept them. This ongoing rejectionism explains why Yassir Arafat ultimately turned down a peace deal in 2000, and why Mahmoud Abbas ultimately turned down a deal in 2008. All of the private concessions in the world will not amount to peace. These days, peace deals are made – and signed – in public.

Let’s be clear.  Ceding almost all of the West Bank and half of Jerusalem – the biblical and strategic heartland of Israel — is quite controversial in Israel.  Yet Israeli leaders have consistently offered to do exactly this, and they have made these offers openly.  These Israeli leaders have understood that they must do the difficult work of preparing their public for the tough sacrifices that peace will necessitate.  And such leadership often comes at a price.  Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated for offering to make these concessions.  Prime Minister Ehud Barak was voted out of office for doing likewise.

Ultimately, the Palestinian willingness to make concessions for peace is meaningful only if they can make such concessions publicly.  No secret deals can be made here.  So long as Palestinian leaders must fear the public disclosure of the difficult concessions that must be made for peace, they will not – and cannot – sign on the line that is dotted.  So long as the Palestinians must hide the price of peace from their public, peace will remain a dream.

David Brog is the executive director of Christians United for Israel and author of a new book, In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity.  You can follow David on Facebook by clicking here and on Twitter by clicking here.



  1. It is part of the mystique that Palestinian people, in particular those in charge, that make up their whole attitude. They have never wanted to sign anything that even hints they conceded anything. What kind of mind set must it be to live in such a way? They do not want anyone in the world seeing them bow down in any way because they claim everything is theirs and was stolen by Israel.Hence; they really want it all. Is it any wonder there will never be peace. The Palestinians must really hate their own people to act in such a way.

    Comment by Joseph — January 26, 2011 @ 1:56 am

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CUFI, TRUTHUSAdotcom. TRUTHUSAdotcom said: RT @CUFI: Our Executive Director's blog-The Palestine Papers – Nothing New Under the Sun […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention The Palestine Papers – Nothing New Under the Sun « Brog's Blog -- — January 26, 2011 @ 2:19 am

  3. Khalil is wrong in what he says. Israel does want peace, so much so that
    Israel’s leaders made the proposals they did. Offering at one point a State in all of Gaza, 93.5 of the West Bank, and half of Jerusalem. Ultimately, all such proposals will continue to fail because of Palestinian
    intransigence in public. Also, to divide G-d’s land which He has promised
    our people goes against His will and word which is another reason it will
    fail. The stage is being set for the fulfillment of Ezekial 38 and 39.

    Comment by Shira Israel-Levin — January 26, 2011 @ 2:44 am

  4. I love the Jews and Israel!! I wish there would be something i could do!! So…I pray to the Lord in the name above all names, Jesus, that He will protect Israel…as i type this lines,my my tears wants to flow…may the Grace of our Lord be with us now and forever!!

    Comment by Rita Pires Scorsim — January 26, 2011 @ 2:58 am

  5. We know from scripture that a real peace will never be accomplished in the Middle East until Jesus Christ is sitting on the throne in Jerusalem. A false peace will come, but then sudden terror. The land belongs to the Jews, given to them by GOD. To give into and give away land to the Palestinians will never work. All of us will have to trust in GOD and his protection.

    Comment by James Eells — January 26, 2011 @ 4:02 am

  6. This is the first time I have read which I hope is the truth of what has been going on and I agree with what I read. How are the Palestinians expect to agree to anything with the Hamas dictating their moves?

    Comment by Elaine Joy Leibbrandt — January 26, 2011 @ 5:33 am

  7. As an American Israeli Jew, I want to thank you all so much for your prayers, and this blog. You can’t imagine how edifying it is to read someone who dares to say this “peace talk” is a lot of media bias. I might live in a weird kind of shell in my community, but all of my friends here are against giving land away. We all realize it’s G0d’s land, not ours to give to non-Jews. Yet there also are a lot of Lefty Israeli Jews who think we can have peace by giving land to a sworn enemy, and they don’t know or care what G0d has said. So we’re a torn people. Your prayers for all Israel to know G0d’s will for the land would be appreciated.
    thank you so much.

    Comment by Israeli Jew — January 26, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  8. All this just goes to show that the Palestinians can’t even trust the Palestinians.

    Comment by Stan Black — January 26, 2011 @ 9:17 am

  9. Remember no matter what God still stays in control

    Comment by Ans du Preez — January 26, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  10. It breaks my heart to see the world, irrespective of God’s promise and gift to the Jews go against the promises of God. When the Lord returns there surely won’t be too many standing on their two legs. I remember when Olmert and Livni were having a party in giving away God’s gift to the enemy with not a gramn of sense in their heads combined,so ready to receive fat checks then sit back and watch their own people slaughtered. It was ok for these two “tykes”. What did they care? They had their millions stashed carefully away to buy property in other countries (if they don’t already have them)just to sit back and watch on the TV their own flesh and blood being slaughtered. I trust these people who want to sell out Israel (especially Jerusalem)are aware that God DOES NOT SLEEP!

    Comment by Mrs. M — January 26, 2011 @ 9:56 am

  11. Just a p.s. to the above comment:

    Where was EHUD BARAK when OLMERT & LIVNI were selling out Jerusalem to the so-called Palestinians? From what I have read and heard BARAK will dance a jig for a Dime!

    Comment by Mrs. M. — January 26, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  12. You made strong inference in your article that Israel must ultimately cede almost all of the (so called) West Bank and half of Jerusalem as the price for peace. (See sixth paragraph “These Israeli leaders have understood that they must do the difficult work of preparing their public for the tough sacrifices that peace will necessitate.”) I do hope that it was just a poor choice of words on your part and that I have misunderstood your intention. As a Christian praying for Israel, I stand strong against the carving up of any of Israel’s land. As for giving away any part of Samaria or Jerusalem, it’s out of the question!

    Comment by Krystyna — January 26, 2011 @ 11:15 am

  13. I have just recently study the history of the Jewish people as a nation and their persecution throughout history since being exiled and now their return in 1948. It makes me furious the a nation of people are being constantly tortured, blamed, murdered and harrased for absolutely no justifiable reason but for the fact that they are Jewish. I dont think Israel should give up any land for peace because the arabs dont want peace they want the total destruction of Israel. Go to my facebook page and read the article I posted on Israel

    Comment by richard bain — January 26, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  14. This Israel-Palestinian matter has been with us for long and it will continue to be. The whole issue is about land. If The LORD has said HE is has given this land to Israel, whoever is resisting is fighting a losing battle. man cannot change the ordinances of God. what i advice whoever is fighting Israel is that like Abimelech came to Abraham and Isaac to make peace, they should rather ask Israel to give them a portion and make peace agreement to live together in mutual understanding. anything short of this is tantamount to choas. places like Bethlehem – the city of David must all be taken back from ‘strange men’.

    Comment by safoa — January 26, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  15. Through out these negotiations, which have been totally one sided, I hear the Palestineans continue to blame Isreal for everything and for the talks hitting a snag because they won’t stop building. Where were the Palestineans when Isreal imposed that 10 month ban? I don’t recall any effort on their part for those ten months, only more demands. They are a greedy and insatiable breed of people and truly judging by their inactions do not now or ever want peace they just want Isreal to go away. I wish Isreal would just reach back and kick their ass, and take all the land back.

    Comment by Brian — January 26, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  16. Please WATCH Prager Univrsity on YOUTUBE “The MIDDLE EAST problem”
    It will answer EVERYBODY the ONLY answer.
    The ARABS have ONLY ONE WISH.. that ISRAEL will NOT EXIST!!!
    The arabs LOVE DEATH as much as the JEWS LOVE LIFE!!!(and YOU too!)

    There is NO ARAB who CAN even say the LETTER “P” in ARABIC.. There is NO “P” in ARABIC LANGUAGE.. EVERY ARAB will use the letter “B” when it need to use the letter “P”.. (like “BALESTINIANS”) ORRRRRRRR They use the letter “F” instead of “P”. like “FALESTINIANS”)
    We all have to UNDERSTAND ..FIRST.. where the name “PALSHTINIAN” came FROM??? ..It started more then 2000 years ego, when the ROMANS counqered JUDEA (from the BIBLE).. which is ISRAEL.. from the JEWS, and CHANGED ITS NAME to …PALESHTINA they used from the PLISHTIM from..the same BIBLE. (The PLISHTIM NATION did NOT even EXITED in this world anymore, at that TIME of the ROMAMS ) After the ROMANS there were many NATIONS who couqured the SAME LAND OF ISRAEL (JUDEA)..and ALL of THEM ..CONTINUED to USE the SAME “MADE UP NAME” (by the Romans)..PALESHTINA.. to the same LAND of JUDEA.. which is ISRAEL..until the LAST ONE the BRITISH..who DIVIDED the LAND and EVEN JERUSALEM..and gave MOST of the LAND to the JORDEN, SYRIA & EJYPT.
    In 1948 A tiny ‘land’ of the whole LAND of ISRAEL (as GOD PROMISED) became The state of ISRAEL, with only 1/2..HALF of JERUSALEM, and NOT EVEN the HOLLY WESTERN WALL,which is the HOLLIEST..only to the JEWS..!!!(That the EVIL BRITISH left with the ARABS LAND in JORDEN)
    ONLY the ARABS that HAVE 600 TIMES more LANDS in THIS WORLD in more then 22 ARAB COUNTRIES ..while the JEWS have ONLY 1 (ONE) tiny land that in 1948 became BACK after 2000 years THE STATE of ISRAEL, as the ONLY HOMELAND for the JEWISH PEOPLE…………………………..
    ONLY the ARABS did NOT eccepted that FACT!.. and UNTIL NOW all the ARAB people in that WORLD are WISHING to KILL all the JEWS in that little LAND, and TAKE OVER the REST of that LITTLE LAND for..THEMSELVES.!
    The ARABS do NOT WANT PEACE.. they want the PIECE.. of that little land called ISRAEL! ALL OF IT!!! All JERUSALEM..Haifa, Tel aviv, Beer sheva ETC. ALL OF IT..EVERY piece of little..ISRAEL!
    The GAZA fully returned ..TELLING US ALL the TRUTH.. the WHOLE TRUTH and NOTING but the TRUTH.
    So let START with the real FACT.. that THERE ARE ..NO PLISHTIM.. or ARAB
    (DID anybody HEAR about “Pleshtinans”??? from 1948 till 1967?? NO!!!!!!
    WHY???????? because there were only JORDENIANS ARABS, EJYPTENS ARABS and SYRENS ARABS..that until 1967 they all belived that they will KILL the JEWS in the little STATE of ISRAEL, and take over the LAND.. but their DREAM did NOT COME ..TRUE.. so they continue the war to TAKE OVER ISRAEL using a TACTIC called.. “PLISHTIM”.. which is their BIG BLUFF. (THINK ABOUT THAT!) From NOW on.. call them: ARABS.. from JORDEN.. ETC….
    The FIRST thing WE have to DO is PUT an END to the BIG BLUFF. Once the BIG BLUFF will EXPLODE.. there will be NO BLUFF to ‘FIGHT’ against.. then ISRAEL will FIGHT against the ARABS.. as ISRAEL did until 1967.. and 1973. AND ISRAEL WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    YOU NEVER “WIN” a BLUFF (as LONG as you fight a BLUFF as “Don Kishote” PLEASE watch the “YOUTUBE” of “PRAGER UNIVRSITY” mentioned above: “The MIDDLE EAST PROBLEM” by Dennis PRAGER..and FORWORDED TO the WHOLE WORLD! LET START withe the real WAR of the TRUTH against the LIE ..the BIG BLUFF!

    Comment by vaeda mazor — January 26, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  17. I believe that Gandhi offered the best answer when asked about an Israeli State. He said that the Jews should return to their homelands:Germany, Austria, Russia, etc. That the land was Palestine inhabited by Palestinians and a few Jews. There is no bibical reason for the Jews to inhibit all of the Holy Land as the Zionist proclaim. THe shame is that people who call themselves Christians such as this blog are a part of such of such inhumane actions by the Israeli’s toward the Palestinians, Muslim and Christian.The ISraeli gov. has never been about peace anymore than the American gov.

    Comment by Patricia Blair — January 26, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  18. @ #17 Go educate yourself! If you knew a little about the arabs you knew that it’s their idiology to kill! They don’t care how many innocent citizens will die because they think it’s worth it! They are very violent and uncivilized people!!! Go see how they treat their women. Like slaves!!! Women there have no basic human rights! Dogs live better than these poor women!
    I don’t know your religion but have you heard about “First the Saturday people then the Sunday people”???
    Everything they do is DECEPTION!
    I lived in Israel for 17 years! I had a great life, unfortunately it would sometimes get interrupted by these animals, these terorists!!!
    Adn about you sending the jews back to Europe, qv the holocaust…

    Comment by Guy — January 26, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

  19. Brog is wrong about one very important issue
    There is no Palestinian people
    There is an artificial construct designed by public relations experts from the KGB in collusion with the Arab League to provide a counter to the Jewish people. There are Arabs who infiltrated the Jewish Homeland when the jews were powerless to defend it, as part of the Muslim Right of Invasion, practiced since Muhamad created Islam some 1400 years ago. There is a Palestinian Authority, another artificial construct rigged by Yitzhak Rabin in order to prevent the Arab invader from demanding citizenship in the country he deems to destroy. As time rushes by it becomes obvious that Muslim Arabs have no intention, never had any intention, to share the land peacefully. Their entirety is given to the destruction of the Jewish State and the completion of the holocaust. No one can come to terms with such a culture or mindset, unless one is suicidal, or completely corrupted.
    There is no doubt Olmert was totally corrupted. He was kicked out of office in disgrace, and so will anyone who offers the holy Land to its would be destroyers
    Y Brandstetter MD, Lehavim, Israel

    Comment by yuval Brandstetter MD — January 26, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  20. I’m on your side Israel.

    Comment by donjusko — January 26, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  21. The dome of all spirits stands on the highest tip of the temple mound a little ways from the mosque. Some say it is where the holy of holies was in Solomons temple. You will gain control of Jerusalem. ‘Where ever they worship God in Spirit and truth.’

    Comment by Glenn L. — January 27, 2011 @ 1:01 am

  22. I don’t think that God brought Jews back to the promised land in 1948 just so that they would turn the land, with all the Jewish holy places, over to the Arabs. Either the bible will come to pass or it won’t. The world should see soon that the God of Israel is not about to let the Jewish state be destroyed by Israel’s neighbors. You don’t have to believe that the Old Testament is real, until it comes to pass. How much longer before we see Joel 3 for example. The world can make all the plans it wants to bring down Israel and then there are God’s plans. We wait.

    Comment by Marvin — January 27, 2011 @ 4:42 am

  23. The Palestinians cannot agree to peace because that would violate their Koran-dictated mandate to annihilate the Jews. Also, the true God has said His land (because ultimately, it is HIS land) is not to be divided! The problem is spiritual so there is no man-made resolution. Only the true God can resolve this problem, and eventually, He will.

    Comment by Angela McIntosh — January 27, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  24. Number 7 (American Israeli Jew): it is also gratifying to us that you are on this blog, because it is helping you understand how much we Christians love the Jewish people! I hope you will read David Brog’s book Standing with Israel. It explains our motivation for this love: that the God of the Bible says to it is a blessing to bless His chosen. As Brog says, Jews who fight Christians are fighting ghosts of the past. Christians today understand that Jesus was Jewish and God loves His original chosen. We believe we are grafted into God’s family via the Jews. We would so appreciate it if you helped your Jewish brethren understand this! We are with the Jews, and pray that the Arabs come to a knowledge of the truth.

    Comment by Angela McIntosh — January 27, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  25. For the sake of Zion, I will not keep silent, says the Lord!

    Comment by tetty — January 27, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  26. Reading the news paper is like reading the bible these days, God is so in control and I just keep looking up and praying for Israel, I feel we are about the see the mighty hand of GOD as he takes care of his people. And what Father spanks the kid next door for his kids not doing what he has told them to do, I just thank GOD everyday for allowing me to be adopted into the family, and pray for the peace of Israel and GODS will be done in everyones life !!!

    Comment by Pat Goode — January 27, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

  27. The Israelis vowed that : Never again will the Jews ever be helpless in the face of persecution.
    Watch them keep that promise 🙂

    Comment by David — February 1, 2011 @ 7:21 am

  28. Every once in a while I visit CUFI, although I must admit that it turns my stomach to see so many “Christians” hate and dehumanize an entire people (Palestinian Arabs) for having the bad luck to have lived in the former Palestine at this time in history. The complete indifference of “Christians” to the agony and suffering of Palestinians is a moral obscenity. The difference between us is that I am able to see both sides and hope for a peaceful reconciliation, while you are consumed with hatred and long for the slaughter of humanity that will accompany the Second Coming. The ironic twist to all this alleged “love” for Israel and Jews is your complete disinterest and contempt for Jews who choose to reject Jesus and instead follow the faith of their fathers. You love the Jews like a farmer loves his chickens – for lunch. I pity your moral blindness. The Israel of today is not the beacon of hope for persecuted Jews that it was in 1948. It is a gangster state, led by thugs like Avi Lieberman, and dedicated only to the perpetuation and extension of its own power. When I read about the conduct of Israelis soldiers in Gaza, butchering helpless civilians, writing “death to Arabs” in excrement on the walls of the houses they pillaged, I am filled with shame and loathing that our country continues to send billions in aid to fund what is in effect genocide.

    Cufi makes no effort at objectivity, fairness, or decency. Your object is propaganda, and the goal is the dehumanization and eventual extermination of the displaced indigenous people of Israel/Palestine.

    I suppose it’s pointless writing this, since you will never allow it to be published. Still, why don’t you surprise me and let a dissident voice in?

    Comment by Mike — February 4, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  29. @ #28 What part of ” They (the arabs) don’t want peace” you don’t understand? There’s only so much one can take. I wonder what would you do if your neighbors keep telling you that they are your friends but keep sabotaging you and your family. I’m sure you’d loose your patience too. So please stop judging Israel since you are not living there and have no idea what it’s like to live like that! Cause I lived there and I’m really happy too see that there are still people who do see the truth. Israeli people are educated, developed and civilized people. Maybe you should watch this video and educate a little.

    Comment by Guy — February 4, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

  30. The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that He will protect Israel. This conflict has been happening for over two thousand years, and will only end when God decides. These Muslim countries who seek the destruction of Israel will ultimately be destroyed.

    Comment by Norma Hunter — February 15, 2011 @ 7:56 pm


    Comment by Chris — February 16, 2011 @ 1:25 am

  32. hi all my brothers and sisters in Christ

    as the world media focuses on the events in Egypt Iran and other middle eastern areas has anyone taken the time to have a look at the future Edomites that still exist to this very day and this race is still an enemy toward Israel does BOZRAH say anything the Edomite clan and the false prophet muhummed are related this Edomite race has migrated world wide
    Isiah 63

    Comment by — February 16, 2011 @ 2:54 am

  33. I am loathe to say this, but CUFI is supporting the wrong people. Let me clarify:
    I have become friends with a devout Jew who has taught me a lot about what is really happening in Israel. (Along with some devout Jews in the US like Rabbi Nachum Shifren – they are all in agreement with this) He is one of about 15 families who have lived in the same land for over 2,000 years. He says the liberal Jews who lead Israel are his enemies.
    I can clearly see what these liberal Jews with the same mindset are doing in the US. Over 70% of them support Obama and have been enablers of him and his policies, enablers of the Muslims who are using hijra to destroy the US just as Mohammed used it in the 7th century. It is absolutely suicidal to support a man who supports the enemies of both America and Israel.
    The devout Jews in Israel are being arrested and harrassed mercilessly. Israel, despite their history biblically, want to be secular and divide themselves from the Torah but should know that God Himself warned Israel about their punishment if they lived with pagans in their midst and turned their backs on Him.
    Kahane desperately tried to warn Israel AND the US what would happen if Muslims were permitted to immigrate to either of these countries. Of course, he was assassinated for his trouble. So were his two sons.
    If Israel does not turn back to God and stop pursuing this suicidal course of action, there will be punishment far worse than what they are now facing.
    The Old Testament is full of the stories of what happened when Israel disobeyed God. Now they are siding with their enemies and doing grave harm to the Jews in Israel who are Jews in the true sense.
    If Israel has turned it’s back on the Torah and believes it to be mythic, than so is their claim on the land.
    Liberal Jews are bringing the destruction of Israel upon itself. I am seriously worried for both them and my devout Jewish friends, because whatever the national punishment will be, all of them will be swept up in a whirlwind of desruction together.

    Comment by julietsm — February 16, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

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