311_ Abed Rabbo, Abbas and Erekat.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
After assuming the role of prosecutor and judge, Al- Jazeera, the Arab world’s
most influential TV network, has ruled that the leaders of the Palestinian
Authority have betrayed their people and must therefore step down from the
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The “defendants” have been found guilty of ceding control over
most of east Jerusalem to Israel, relinquishing the right of return for millions
of Palestinian refugees and conducting security coordination with Israeli
In other words, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his
men have been convicted of high treason – which, in the Arab and Islamic world,
is a crime punishable by death.
Al-Jazeera is now waiting for the
executioner (the Palestinians, in this case) to carry out the death
Al-Jazeera’s dramatic show trial, which began on Sunday night,
has undoubtedly caused massive damage to the PA leadership in the West Bank. The
blow is so severe that it’s hard to see how the PA leadership can ever
The beleaguered Abbas and his top aides have since been
scrambling to control damage caused by the revelations, but with limited
Their major line of defense claims that the revelations are part
of a “conspiracy” designed to discredit the PA leadership because of its refusal
to return to the negotiating table unless Israel halts construction in the
Some PA officials have claimed that Qatar, which owns
Al-Jazeera, has set out to “politically liquidate” Abbas and his team to help
Hamas extend its control to the West Bank. Others have claimed that Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were behind
the scandal, which is being dubbed the “Palestinian Watergate.”
ordinary Palestinians did not seem to buy these claims. Some went as far as
saying that the allegations against the PA leaders did not surprise
Most Palestinians who were interviewed in east Jerusalem and
Ramallah said they had never had much confidence anyway in Abbas and negotiators
Saeb Erekat, Ahmed Qurei and Yasser Abed Rabbo.
Al-Jazeera’s show trial
has only come to reconfirm many Palestinians’ suspicions about their leaders in
the West Bank.
In the past, Palestinians used to hear these allegations
from Hamas and other enemies of the PA. Now, however, Palestinians are hearing
the charges against their representatives from what most consider a widely
respected and reliable media outlet.
On the first day of the show trial,
Palestinians were told that Abbas, Erekat and Qurei had given up Arab and Muslim
rights to Jerusalem and the Haram a-Sharif, or Temple Mount.
second day, Al- Jazeera’s jury found Abbas and his team guilty of selling out on
the issue of Palestinian refugees.
On day three, Tuesday, Al- Jazeera has
promised to display evidence of the PA’s collusion with Israel in the
elimination of Palestinian gunmen.
The TV station has already decided
that the defendants are guilty of the three charges against them. The station’s
unequivocal message to Palestinians is that Abbas and his men are traitors who
need to be removed from the scene, and the sooner the better.
to see how, in light of this damning verdict, the PA will be able to salvage
what’s left of its credibility. Al- Jazeera has succeeded in instilling in the
minds of many Palestinians and Arabs the belief that the leaders of the PA are a
bunch of corrupt traitors who serve Israeli and American interests.
damage to the PA’s image and reputation is colossal and irreparable.