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