FAQ: The Palestine Papers

What are these papers? Why are they in English? We answer the most common questions.

    What are the Palestine Papers?

    The Palestine Papers are the largest leak of confidential files in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a cache of more than 1,600 documents encompassing the most recent decade of negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.  They are an unprecedented window into Israeli, PA, US, European, and Arab relations and reveal a wealth of information about how the parties negotiate behind closed doors.  

    Taken in total, the Palestine Papers instigate a broader conversation on such issues as whether a two state endgame is achievable and desirable and whether international and US-led processes to reach that goal have only deepened Israeli occupation.  

    There are 1,684 total documents, including

    • 275 sets of meeting minutes;
    • 690 internal e-mails;
    • 153 reports and studies;
    • 134 sets of talking points and prep notes for meetings;
    • 64 draft agreements;
    • 54 maps, charts and graphs;
    • and 51 “non-papers.”

    Why are most of these documents in English?

    Because Israeli and Palestinian negotiators almost always conduct their meetings in English, not Arabic or Hebrew. The delegations occasionally talk amongst themselves in those languages – you’ll find such exchanges noted in the minutes – but the actual negotiations, and any documents reflecting their agreements, are in English.

    The PDF versions of these documents say they were created in 2011. How do you explain that?

    In order to protect the integrity of The Palestine Papers, Al Jazeera created fresh PDF copies of each document. They are exact duplicates of the originals, except where personal contact information was redacted (see below).

    Why are certain documents redacted?

    We have redacted personal contact information – e-mail addresses, mobile phone numbers, etc. – found in some of these documents.

    Why are certain documents available only in PDF?

    The formatting of some documents meant that we were unable to automatically import their text into our database. Instead, we’ve provided a summary of the document, and posted PDF versions for download.  For those reasons, some documents in the database are not be keyword searchable and require manual examination.   

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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