Fatah Activists Demonstrate Against Al Jazeera Over Arafat Slur

Protest outside Qatar-based new network's Ramallah office came after TV panelist criticized late PA leader Yasser Arafat.

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Ari Soffer,

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat

Dozens of angry Fatah activists demonstrated outside the Ramallah offices of the Al Jazeera news network Wednesday.

The protesters had to be physically prevented from storming the building by Palestinian Authority (PA) police, and were forced to make do with hurling epithets including allegations that the Qatari-based network was pursuing a "Zionist" agenda.

The activists were incensed by remarks made by a certain Ibrahim Hamami during a heated debate broadcast by the network, in which he branded former Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat a "traitor," due to having signed the Oslo Agreements in 1994, and thus implicitly agreed to a compromise with Israel.

Hamami is a London-based Islamist, and supporter of Hamas - the Islamist movement which has been at loggerheads with Fatah since taking over the Gaza Strip in 2006, ousting the Fatah-run administration.

Fatah party activists called on the Palestinian Authority to boycott Al Jazeera in response to broadcasting the insult about Arafat, who was the founder and former leader of both the Palestinian Authority and Fatah organization, and widely revered by many secular Arab nationalists.

Arafat died in 2004 after struggling with an unknown illness.