Al-Jazeera office shut down after Arafat murder bid report


A statement issued by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's office cited incitement against the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the reason for its decision to shut down the Qatar-based Arabic news channel's local office.

The decision comes after Al-Jazeera reported on a press conference for Farouq al-Qaddoumi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, held in Jordan Monday.

During it, he produced what he said was a transcript of a meeting between Abbas, Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan and Sharon in which they allegedly discussed killing Arafat.

PA and PLO have furiously accused al-Qaddoumi of lying.

"For a long time, Al-Jazeera has given large space for reports inciting against the PLO and the Palestinian National Authority (PA), the latest of which was, what it said yesterday (Tuesday), inciting internal infighting and reporting false news," said the statement.

"As a result of this, and to protect our people, the PNA has decided to take legal action and to suspend the work of al-Jazeera office in Palestine until the court makes its decision."

The PA said it would nevertheless continue to respect freedom of the press, urging other media outlets working in the Palestinian areas to "do their work in a way that is not inconsistent with the national interest of our Palestinian people and the rule of law".

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