Fatah supporters 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas on Wednesday urged Palestinians to “isolate” the Palestinian Authority leadership in light of this week’s revelations by Al-Jazeera.
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Hamas said the secret documents that were revealed by Al-Jazeera were “extremely dangerous” and provided evidence of the PA’s involvement in the assassination of Palestinians and its role in Operation Cast Lead two years ago.
Hamas was responding to claims by Al-Jazeera that the PA, in the context of security coordination with Israel, was involved in the assassination of a top Fatah gunman in the Gaza Strip in 2005.
“This dangerous information affirms that we are facing a team that has allied itself with the occupation against its own people,” Hamas said in a statement. “We urge Palestinians everywhere to reject this security and political coordination, and to work toward isolating and besieging this despicable group.”
Hamas plans a series of mass protests in the Gaza Strip in the coming days to denounce the PA in the wake of the Al- Jazeera revelations.
Representatives of several Palestinian groups, including Hamas, held an emergency meeting in Gaza City to discuss the repercussions of the Al-Jazeera claims.
The groups said in a statement after the meeting that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his team do not have a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians.
Ayman Taha, a spokesman for Hamas, said the groups agreed that the leaked documents were “very serious.” He said that many Palestinians have been shocked by the revelations.
The groups also called on the PA to stop security coordination with Israel, he said.
Yahya Musa, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, condemned the PA leaders in the West Bank as a bunch of gangsters.
“Palestine is not for sale,” Musa said during an anti-PA demonstration in Khan Yunis.
“The Palestinians deserve a better leadership than the one sitting in the West Bank.”
On Wednesday evening, several thousand Palestinians marched in two Gaza towns.
In one, they hoisted effigies of Abbas and other Palestinian negotiators draped with Israeli flags and chanted, “Go home, traitors.” In the other, they held up photos of Abbas with his face crossed out.
In Ramallah, Abbas chaired a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee to discuss the latest developments surrounding the “Palestine Papers” leaks.
The committee strongly condemned Al-Jazeera for waging a “smear campaign” against the PA leadership.
The committee said that this campaign coincided with Israel’s “hostility” toward the PA leadership because of the latter’s refusal to succumb to pressure to make concessions.
Accusing Al-Jazeera of forgery and taking the documents out of context, the PLO committee described the revelations as a theater.
The PLO leaders called on the Quartet members, who are scheduled to meet next month in Munich, to support the Palestinians’ efforts to obtain a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements as “illegitimate.”
Meanwhile, Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the PA government in the West Bank, denied that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had ever expressed support for the continued blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Al-Jazeera claimed on Tuesday that Fayyad had told Quartet envoy Tony Blair that he was opposed to the reopening of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip.
Khatib accused Al-Jazeera of distorting the facts and misleading its viewers with the aim of undermining the PA and the PLO.
Former PA interior minister Nasr Youssef denied that he had played any role in the assassination of Hassan al- Madhoun, a senior Fatah activist wanted by Israel for a series of terrorist attacks.
Al-Jazeera claimed that Youssef and then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz had discussed the possibility of assassinating Madhoun in 2005.
Youssef said that he had actually warned the fugitive that Israel was planning to kill him. He added that Madhoun was recruited to the PA’s Presidential Guard to protect him.
However, Madhoun left the job after a few days, a fact that paved the way for his assassination by Israel, Youssef said.
“Israel never asked us to kill anyone,” the former PA minister said. “They only asked us to arrest people. Israel never tells anyone when it’s going to assassinate someone and the Israelis don’t need information from us to learn about the movements of anyone.”AP contributed to this report.