Palestine Papers backlash? Protesters rally for Mahmoud Abbas at Al Jazeera office
Amid Palestine Papers revelations, Mahmoud Abbas got a rare show of public support, though some question if it was staged.
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The messages from the crowd mimicked the reaction of the Palestinian Authority to the documents earlier that day. Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official Yasser Abed Rabbo described the Al Jazeera reports as “a theater of fabrication.”Skip to next paragraph
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Did PLO stage protest?
Most Palestinians, however, have expressed exasperation and anger with PLO chairman Abbas, with few coming to his defense.
This sentiment was not reflected in today's protests, he says, nor has it been reflected in Palestinian newspapers, which have almost exclusively covered official condemnation of the leaks but with little explanation of their content. That, along with the presence of PLO officials, had some observers speculating that today's protests were staged.
“Many of the men here are from the preventative security forces. I recognize their faces,” said a senior Palestinian journalist pointing to the crowd banging down the Al Jazeera door. A plainclothes security official forced this reporter to delete a photo showing the faces of some of these protesters.
To Mr. Jaradat, the Palestinian journalist, the authority's strong hand is one reason why anti-Abbas protests did not also erupt today.
To other analysts, however, Palestinians held back because most remain supportive of Abbas.
“Most Palestinians are disappointed in the Palestinian leadership as a whole – both in Gaza and the West Bank, but they are still not ready for a revolt,” says Nabil Kukali, director of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion. "There is still hope that the PA might bring an end to the occupation."
Al Jazeera says the documents released Sunday are the first batch of 1,684 it will disclose in the coming days on the Middle East peace process.