PA figures call Al-Jazeera reports ‘shameful fabrications’

Abbas on 'Palestine Papers': Arab countries know details of peace talks; Fatah to Palestinians: Boycott the Qatari television network or be punished.

Abbas smiling 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
Abbas smiling 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
The Palestinian Authority on Monday accused Al-Jazeera of “fabrications,” while the ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank called for a boycott of the Qatari-owned TV network.
The attacks on Al-Jazeera came after the network revealed documents that showed PA negotiators had offered far-reaching territorial concessions in Jerusalem.
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Fatah activists who demonstrated in the center of Ramallah tried to storm the offices of Al-Jazeera, but were pushed back by PA policemen.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in Cairo, accused Al- Jazeera of deliberately misleading viewers by mixing up Israeli proposals with Palestinian positions.
“This is shameful,” Abbas said after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “These documents are designed to create confusion. I saw them [Al-Jazeera] broadcast things that they attributed to Palestinians.
In fact, these were Israeli [proposals].”
Abbas stressed that the PA leadership had no secrets to hide.
“All the Arab countries know our position,” he said. “We have been providing the Arab countries with details about the negotiations and all that we were offered.”
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top PLO official closely associated with Abbas, accused Al-Jazeera of taking sentences out of context.
“The goal behind the publication of these documents, which are known to all our people, is to distort the Palestinian position at a time when the Palestinian leadership is leading a conflict with the occupation in various international forums,” he said.
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Abed Rabbo also accused Al-Jazeera of waging a well-organized campaign to distort the image of the Palestinians, and charged that this coincided with another campaign being waged by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discredit the PA leadership and convince ordinary Palestinians that their representatives don’t care about their interests. In addition, Abed Rabbo alleged that the campaigns targeted Abbas personally because of his refusal to negotiate with Israel while construction was continuing in the settlements.
Abed Rabbo added that “junior employees” working for the PA had been responsible for leaking the documents in return for money. “Their identity is known to the Palestinian Authority,” he said, denying reports of the involvement of a senior Palestinian figure.
He also called for the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate the authenticity of the leaked documents, and attacked the emir of Qatar, urging him to reveal the “truth” about his country’s ties with Israel and Iran.
PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki accused Al-Jazeera of serving Israeli interests by publishing the secret documents. He, too, claimed that the allegations were fabricated and aimed at driving a wedge between the PA leadership and the Palestinian people.
Former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei, whose name appeared in the leaked documents as one aof the negotiators who had offered to cede control of most of east Jerusalem to Israel, called for an emergency meeting of the PA leadership and the Arab League to discuss Al-Jazeera’s “fabrications” and “false accusations.”
A Fatah spokesman accused the network of trying to politically assassinate Abbas and vowed to foil its “conspiracy.”
The spokesman claimed that the documents leaked to Al-Jazeera were forgeries.
The Fatah faction urged Palestinians to boycott Al-Jazeera, warning that anyone who violates the call would be punished. Adnan Dmairi, a spokesman for the Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank, accused Al-Jazeera of plotting with Israel to pressure the Palestinian leadership and “help Avigdor Lieberman.”
The Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency joined the chorus. Its editor, Nasser Lahham, defended PA leaders and said that Israel and the US were benefiting from Al-Jazeera’s actions.
“Al-Jazeera is slaughtering us every day,” Lahham said. “Any Arab watching Al-Jazeera gets the impression that a majority of the Palestinians are slaves and servants for the occupation and there isn’t one revolutionary among them.”