Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received a hero's welcome yesterday from thousands of Palestinians who denounced the Qatari regime and its Al Jazeera television channel for accusing their leader of selling out to Israel.
Supporters burned posters of the Emir of Qatar, who an Abbas aide said had approved Al Jazeera's broadcast of leaked Middle East negotiation documents. They also burned Israeli flags with Al Jazeera's name sprayed inside the Star of David.
"We will go to Jerusalem, a million martyrs strong," the crowd of over 3,000 chanted, in a rousing endorsement for Abbas using a slogan not heard since the days of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.
"The Palestinian principles ... have not and will not change and the first of them is that East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine," Abbas said yesterday.
He accused Al Jazeera of using "fake" documents to convict Abbas' Palestinian Authority of cowardice and duplicity in confidential talks with Israel over concessions it would make for a peace treaty and a Palestinian state.
"No one in the world can make us give up on a centimeter of our land, the issue of the refugees or the issue of Jerusalem," Abbas told the crowd.
Documents released this week by Al Jazeera show Abbas' negotiators were willing to give substantial ground on major issues at the heart of the conflict, like the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. Al Jazeera is sponsored by Doha, though the government disavows direct control of the channel.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PA official, said the Emir of Qatar had "given a green light" for a campaign against the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank. Qatar has close ties to Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.
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