Palestinian aid condemns Al-Jazeera


Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (centre) is surrounded by Fatah supporters during a rally in the West Bank town of Jericho (AP)

The chief Palestinian negotiator says the Arab satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera is inciting against him and putting his life at risk with what he described as a distorted presentation of Palestinian positions in talks with Israel.

The negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said he was genuinely concerned for his and his family’s safety.

Since the beginning of the week, Al-Jazeera has been releasing what it says are hundreds of leaked documents covering a decade of Middle East talks. The Qatar-based station, widely watched in the Middle East, has alleged that the documents show Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his aides made significant concessions to Israel and coordinates closely with Israel’s military.

Abbas and his inner circle have said Al-Jazeera is engaging in a smear campaign against them, including by taking quotes out of context. Some have alleged portions are fabricated, while one Abbas aide has said the documents appear authentic.

The station has declined to comment.

Many documents feature Erekat.

“If you see Al-Jazeera, the style is telling people, Saeb is guilty, execute him, and then after you execute him, give him an unfair trial,” he told reporters.

Erekat said he has not received death threats but was concerned, nonetheless. “One has to keep in mind, you have a family, a wife and neighbours,” he said. “There is a price I am paying.”

Some Palestinian officials have said they believe the documents were leaked by someone linked to the Negotiations Support Unit, a department that provides technical and research support and is headed by Erekat.

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