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Palestinians react angrily to al-Jazeera's 'Palestine Papers'

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Leaders and residents react to the release of the so-called 'Palestinian Papers', which reveal big concessions Palestinian negotiators offered Israel.

Demonstrators attacked al-Jazeera's office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, breaking a window and spray-painting graffiti that said "al Jazeera = Israel.'' More protests against al-Jazeera were planned in the West Bank for Tuesday.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator who is featured prominently in the documents as one of those willing to surrender control of large swaths of East Jerusalem inhabited by Jews, said the documents "misrepresented our positions" and took "statements and facts out of context."

Some analysts said the swiftness with which the Palestinians sought to dismiss the reports highlighted how little the Palestinian leadership has done to prepare the Palestinian public for concessions.

Meanwhile, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, tried to capitalize on the documents' revelations as part of its bid to portray itself as the true, legitimate leader of the Palestinian people. While the group remains in control of Gaza after seizing the territory in a battle with the rival Fatah party in 2007, its ability to operate in the West Bank has eroded amid Palestinian and Israeli crackdowns there.

"What surprised us is the scope of the betrayal in the documents, especially towards Jerusalem," Ismail Radwan, a Hamas leader in Gaza, told al-Aqsa radio, a Hamas-backed station. "But we, in Hamas, are not surprised from this group in the Fatah government, that it engages in these kinds of concessions.''

The Israeli government had no official comment on the documents' release. Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party, who led negotiations in 2008, said Monday, "Today, it is clear that during the previous government we established - in a serious and responsible way - all of the foundations . . . necessary to end the conflict."

But her successor, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, sharply contradicted that assessment, saying the revelations prove only that reaching a deal with the Palestinians is impossible.

zachariaj@washpost.com Special correspondents Samuel Sockol in Jerusalem and Sufian Taha in Ramallah contributed to this report.


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