West Bank Palestinians protest against Al-Jazeera

AFP , Thursday 27 Jan 2011

Thousands of Palestinian protesters take to the streets in Nablus to protest the 'Zionist Al-Jazeera'

West Bank protests
Palestinians destroy Al-Jazeera logos during during a rally in support of Fatah in the West Bank city of Nablus, Thursday, 27 Jan. 2011.(AP Photos/Bernat Armangue)

Some 5,000 people demonstrated against Al-Jazeera in the northern West Bank town of Nablus on Thursday in protest at the station publishing secret peace talks documents.

The demonstrators waved signs reading "Al-Jazeera is Zionist" and "Al-Jazeera and Israel are two sides of the same coin," denouncing the Qatar-based satellite broadcaster and questioning its motives.

The television station has published hundreds of files that reveal details of peace talks with Israel over the last decade, including far-reaching Palestinian concessions on the sensitive subjects of Jerusalem and refugees.

Mahmoud Shtayyeh, a leading member of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, addressed the crowd, accusing "the Zionist Al-Jazeera" of a "conspiracy against the Palestinian people."

Offices of the station in Nablus and Ramallah have been attacked by Fatah supporters, while senior Palestinian officials have denounced the news channel and accused it trying to undermine or even overthrow the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The collection of 1,600 documents also shows members of the PA closely cooperating with Israel in the fight against Fatah's bitter rival Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, demonstrators have offered their support for Abbas and his chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, who appears frequently throughout the documents.

But in Gaza, demonstrations have been held in support of Al-Jazeera, criticising Abbas for "collaborating" with Israel.

On Thursday, hundreds of demonstrators protested in Gaza City, holding pictures of Abbas and Erakat with large crosses over their faces and chanting "No, no to the traitors!"

Hamas has said the documents show Fatah and Abbas sought to "liquidate" the Islamist movement.

On Wednesday, Hamas supporters in the southern Gaza town of Rafah hanged effigies of Abbas and PA officials after Islamist groups declared that he had forfeited the right to speak for Palestinians.

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