Abbas: Palestine Papers attempt to bring down PA gov't

By
January 30, 2011 20:04

"Al-Jazeera thought they could finish us off, but the Palestinian people have responded to their lies and distortions."

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Abbas

Abbas 521. (photo credit:Associated Press)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted on Sunday as saying that the Al-Jazeera news channel had tried to topple his regime.

“They [Al-Jazeera] thought that Palestine was like Tunisia,” Abbas said, referring to the uprising that removed president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power this month. “They tried to spread lies because they thought that what happened in Tunisia could happen in Palestine.”

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Abbas was referring to hundreds of leaked documents that were released by Al- Jazeera and Britain’s Guardian newspaper last week. The documents, knows as the “Palestine Papers,” have seriously embarrassed the PA leadership in the West Bank.

“Al-Jazeera thought that they could finish us off, but the Palestinian people have responded to their lies and distortions,” he said.

Abbas’s attack on Al-Jazeera came as Egypt closed down the station’s bureau in Cairo and withdrew credentials of all its staff.

Fatah representatives have urged Abbas to follow suit and ban Al-Jazeera from operating in the West Bank, under the pretext that the station incites against the PA leadership.

PA officials expressed deep concern over the current events in Egypt and warned that the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak’s regime would be a severe blow to moderate Arabs in the region.

“We are following the events in Egypt with deep concern,” a PA official said. “We are worried that the collapse of his regime would strengthen Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Azzam al-Ahmed, a top Fatah official and adviser to Abbas, said the Palestinians had no right to interfere in the internal affairs of others. “We respect the will of the political forces and the people in Egypt,” he said. “We hope stability and security will return to Egypt.”

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He said that contrary to reports, the PA was not afraid that the events in Egypt would have an impact on the situation in the Palestinian territories.

The current uprising in Egypt has not affected dozens of underground tunnels under the border with the Gaza Strip, sources close to Hamas said.

Hamas has been urging Palestinians to follow the example of the Tunisians and the Egyptians, and revolt against Abbas.

“The Gaza Strip has enough fuel and basic foods,” the sources said, adding that the tunnels used for smuggling were continuing to operate – despite the unrest in Egypt – in an attempt to calm Palestinians in the Strip who were concerned about a shortage in fuel over the weekend, many Palestinians there converged on gas stations following rumors that the tunnels had been closed down. They are used for smuggling not only weapons, but also fuel and food.

Five Hamas men who had been held in detention in Egypt returned to the Gaza Strip on Sunday through the tunnels.

They were among thousands of prisoners who escaped from several prisons in Egypt during the past few days.

Hamas says that scores of its members are being held in Egypt for security-related offenses.

The five men who returned to Gaza were identified as Hassan Wishah, Juma’a al-Tahleh, Muhammad Abdel Hadi, Omar Sha’ath and Mutasem al-Koka.

Wishah told reporters that many political prisoners who were being held with him had been shot and killed by Egyptian policemen. He also said that he had been subjected to brutal torture during the three years he spent in an Egyptian prison.

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