Vandalized Al Jazeera studio
Photo: AFP
Abbas. Made far-reaching concessions?
Photo: Reuters

Erekat: US, British citizens leaked documents

Raised voices, disagreements, and plenty of passing the buck noted Wednsday, as Saeb Erekat is interviewed on Al Jazeera over leaks. Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians hold anti-Abbas protest in Gaza

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat exposed the identity of the two people behind the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation documents during an interview in Al Jazeera's studios in Qatar Wednesday night.


Erekat claimed that US citizen Clayton Swisher who worked for the US Foreign Office and who now works at Al Jazeera, and Alastair Crooke, a British citizen who once served as the EU's security coordinator on the settlements are responsible for the leak.  


Clayton Swisher's name had already been mentioned in connection with the leaks a few days ago.


Erekat accused Al Jazeera of inciting against him. "You're inciting the people in the Arab world, what you did was tell the Arabs to kill me and only later put me on trial," he said.


During the interview, the Palestinian official seemed emotional and agitated. He raised his voice a number of times and perspired profusely. The conversation between Erekat and his interviewer was often cut off because of their disagreements. Erekat presented his own documents.


He stressed that the documents related to security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority could not be found in the offices of the Palestinian negotiating team, where the leaks occurred.


According to Erekat, the quote ascribed to him where he admits that the Palestinian Authority killed Palestinians in order to maintain law and order – was taken out of context. He also said that the documents weren't new and that he himself spoke about them on various channels, including al Jazeera, in the past.


Anti-Abbas protest in Gaza

Several thousand Palestinians in Gaza are marching against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, calling him a traitor.


The protests were sparked by reports by Al-Jazeera satellite TV about leaked documents from a decade of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Al-Jazeera says the documents show Abbas made far-reaching concessions on Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.


Abbas' political rival, the Islamic militant Hamas, has accused him of selling out Palestinian rights.


On Wednesday evening, several thousands 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.

Al Jazeera studio in Nablus (Photo: AFP)


Meanwhile, several Palestinians vandalized a television studio in Nablus rented by Al Jazeera, a studio worker said. Five people, one of whom was armed, arrived at the studio looking for Dr. Abdul Sattar Kassem, a Palestinian academic known for his criticism of the Palestinian Authority.


The Qatari network was holding an interview with Kassem discussing the security cooperation between Israel and the PA. Having been told Kassem had left, the five began tearing the place down. Nablus police said an investigation had been launched.


Elior Levy contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 01.26.11, 20:43
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