al-Jazeera leaks Israel-Palestine secrets online

As the business world awaits WikiLeaks' onslaught against super-rich tax-dodgers, Arabic news network al-Jazeera has delivered a new online secrecy bombshell, with a massive leak of documents relating to the Middle East peace process.

The 1,600 confidential papers detail a decade of talks between Palestinian, Israeli and US negotiators, from US president Bill Clinton's Camp David talks in 2000, to private discussions last year that involved senior figures in the Obama administration.

Among the most explosive details to emerge in the Palestine Papers is the revelation that negotiators for the Palestinian Authority agreed in 2008 to cede to Israel almost every area illegally occupied by Jewish settlers - an offer al-Jazeera describes as "an historic concession for which they received nothing in return".

The source of the collection of memos, emails and meeting transcripts is unclear, but the bulk of the documents is believed to come from the British and American-funded Palestinian negotiation support unit (NSU), the main technical and legal backup for the Palestinian side.

The documents - almost all of which are in English, the language used by both sides in the negotiations - have been redacted to remove details such as email addresses or phone numbers which could identify the leakers.

If verified as genuine, the leak would be the largest in the history of the Middle East peace process, and may be enough to permanently derail diplomatic efforts.

The man alleged to have made the controversial offer in 2008 over Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei, denied there was any truth in the claim. Qurei claims Israel refused to discuss the issue.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Qurei told news agency Associated Press that "many parts of the documents were fabricated, as part of the incitement against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership".

The current chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, dismissed al-Jazeera's claims as "lies and half truths".

According to a story today in the UK's Guardian newspaper, al-Jazeera's exclusive partner in publishing the leak, current negotiators are expected to respond to the leaks by saying that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" - allowing them to ditch provisional offers that have failed to secure an agreement.

Leaders of the Palestinian Fatah movement, the faction behind the earlier negotiations, have previously accused al-Jazeera of favouring its Iranian-backed rival, Hamas.

Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Gaza Strip, refuses to recognise Israel and insists on much more more hardline stance by Palestinian negotiators.