Palestinian officials: Bin Laden has damaged Muslim, Arab image

Palestinian officials have reacted coolly to the latest pronouncements from Osama bin Laden. In his latest recorded message to the world, the fugitive leader of al-Qaida portrays himself as a bitter enemy of Israel and the only true defender of the Palestinians. However the actual Palestinians, including Hamas, don't seem too enthusiastic about the support. The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank fears Palestinian cause could be sullied by links to terrorism. In the tape, bin Laden condemned the West Bank government for talking to Israel. And Hamas, which the US and Israel consider a terrorist group, sees al-Qaida as too extreme. Palestinian Authority government adviser Nimr Hammad says bin Laden has "caused huge damage to the image of Muslims and Arabs all over the world." He says bin Laden's statements have damaged the Palestinian image as well.