July 11, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10701

Palestinian Authority: Al-Jazeera Incites Against Us In Service Of Qatar, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood; We Will Consider Taking Legal Measures Against It; Al-Jazeera In Response: Our Coverage Is Balanced And Professional

July 11, 2023
Qatar, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10701

On July 3-5, 2023, the Israeli armed forces conducted a military operation in the Jenin refugee camp against the Jenin Brigade, a recently formed group comprising fighters from several Palestinian terror organizations, including the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ); Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and Hamas' military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades. Although the operation  resulted in the death of 12 armed terrorists[1] and in the dismantling of terror infrastructures in Jenin, the media outlets of the various terrorist organizations, chief of them Hamas, present it as an achievement and victory of the Palestinian resistance.[2]   

During and after the operation, the Palestinian public, especially in Jenin, expressed anger over the weakness of the Palestinian Authority (PA) vis-à-vis Israel and over the helplessness of its security forces, which did not take part in the fighting in Jenin and even arrested PIJ operatives who were on their way to join the fray.  This undermined the credibility of the PA's announcement after the operation that it was extending the suspension of the security coordination with Israel.[3] Moreover, a delegation of Fatah officials, headed by the movement's deputy-chairman Mahmoud Al-'Aloul, which came to the funeral of some of the fighters killed in the camp, was chased away with cries of "Out! Out!"[4] 

Against this backdrop, an intense conflict broke out between the PA and the Qatari Al-Jazeera media network over the latter's coverage of the events in Jenin.[5] Officials in the PA and in its ruling party, Fatah, accused Al-Jazeera of unprofessional and unobjective coverage that favored Hamas and dishonored the PA. They claimed that Al-Jazeera favored Hamas spokespersons and commentators, who had attributed the operation's "achievements" to this movement.[6] The officials were also furious with Al-Jazeera for covering the incident of the ousting of the Fatah leaders from the funeral in Jenin, and for expressing contempt about the initiative of the PA leadership, headed by PA President Mahmoud 'Abbas, to  convene an "urgent meeting" of the Palestinian faction heads in Cairo.[7] 

Fatah and PA spokespersons accused Al-Jazeera of waging a campaign of incitement and slander against the PA in the service of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The PA's clash with Al-Jazeera came to a head when  Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the PA's presidency spokesperson and information minister, sent a letter to the Al-Jazeera management threatening legal measures against the network. Articles in the PA press slammed Al-Jazeera, accusing it of serving the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist elements and Qatar and seeking to spark internal wars throughout the Arab and Islamic world.

Al-Jazeera responded with a letter of its own, in which it rejected these allegations, stressed its commitment to professional standards of journalism, and stated that it would not yield to pressure. Elements close to Al-Jazeera and Qatar took to social media to attack the PA. They claimed that its allegations against Al-Jazeera were nothing but an attempt to cover up the fact that the PA is an agent of Israel working against the interests of the Palestinian people.

This report reviews this clash between Fatah and the PA and Al-Jazeera, and their mutual accusations.

Fatah Spokesperson: Al-Jazeera Is Waging A Smear Campaign Against Us, Promoting Hamas' Rhetoric

Fatah's spokesperson in Gaza, Mundhir Al-Hayek, accused Al-Jazeera of "waging a media smear campaign against Fatah by highlighting the Israeli narrative and interviewing Israeli officials, and also interviewing Hamas officials, whose rhetoric is aimed at spreading poison [against the PA]." This campaign, he said, seeks to exacerbate the tension within the Palestinian arena in order to create an alternative to the PLO. Al-Hayek also slammed Al-Jazeera for expressing skepticism about the call of President 'Abbas to convene a meeting of the Palestinian factions in Cairo and for reporting that some of the factions [i.e., Hamas and the PIJ] had declined to attend it.[8] 

Fatah Central Committee: We Condemn The Incitement Against Us By "Mercenaries Of The [Arab] Regimes"

Fatah's Central Committee likewise issued a statement that accused Al-Jazeera – without explicitly mentioning it– of inciting against the PA and even called it a mercenary of Arab regimes, hinting at Qatar. The statement read: "Our only conflict will continue to be with the occupation and the Zionist enterprise, and we will not be dragged into secondary conflicts aimed at diverting the compass of our national struggle… The ongoing incitement and the deliberate and systematic racist propaganda of the [Arab] regimes'   mercenaries and the occupation's collaborators is currently evident in the conduct of certain elements that disrespected Fatah's leaders and the protectors of the Palestinian national enterprise. [They do this] in order to help the occupation and its collaborators realize their wish to undermine the display of national unity that was achieved on the ground by our people's sons and heroes in Jenin…

"Fatah will always be able to settle scores with anyone who disrespects its national emblems and leaders and its people who are fighting on the battlefield… We will not allow those who sow disunity among us, and those with foreign agendas, to undermine our people's unity…"[9]

Fatah's Journalists Office: Al-Jazeera Spreads The Poisoned Rhetoric Of Hamas, Deepening The Intra-Palestinian Schism

Fatah's Journalists Office made similar claims against Al-Jazeera,  condemning "the incitement of the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel against Fatah, the PA and [the Palestinian] security apparatuses," incitement which "serves the occupation's agenda by deepening the intra-Palestinian schism." It added: "By placing its screens at the service of Hamas and the poisoned and inciting discourse of its spokespersons and commentators, Al-Jazeera flagrantly favors [this movement], turns its back on professionalism and flagrantly discriminates against the resistance fighters in the field… [We] turn to the Al-Jazeera management with a demand for more objective, balanced and neutral coverage of the Palestinian issue, and for equal coverage of all the [political] elements, so as to stop [Al-Jazeera] from being a mouthpiece of one side in the Palestinian arena at the expense of the other."[10] 

PA Security Forces Spokesman: Al-Jazeera's Incitement Campaign Diverts Us From the Struggle Against Israel

As stated, criticism of Al-Jazeera was also voiced by PA officials. The spokesperson of the PA security forces, Gen. Talal Dweikat, slammed Al-Jazeera, saying: "The incitement campaign waged against the PA, Fatah and the [Palestinian] security apparatuses by Al-Jazeera and by certain elements in the Palestinian arena [i.e., Hamas] is neither new nor acceptable. Hamas is not only  trying to create a culture of division among the younger generation, but is also laying the foundations for an internal conflict that diverts the compass [of the national struggle] away from the [Israeli] aggression against our people, our land and our holy sites." Dweikat stressed that "it is time to turn away from the mentality of conspiracies and of accusing others of treason and heresy. All the Palestinians must turn to fighting the tyrannical occupation." He expressed puzzlement at what he called Al-Jazeera's incitement against and attack on Fatah and the security apparatuses, and asked, "What benefit does the channel derive from this incitement campaign?"[11]   

PA Information Minister Threatens Legal Measures Against Al-Jazeera

The PA's counterattack against Al-Jazeera came to a head with an open letter sent by Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the PA's presidency spokesperson, deputy prime minister and information minister, to Hamad Bin Thamer Aal Thani, the chairman of the board of the Al-Jazeera Media Network. The letter stated:

"To Sheikh Hamad Bin Thamer Aal Thani, may Allah protect him, board chairman of the Al-Jazeera Media Network.

"It saddens us that the Al-Jazeera news channel deviated from the norms of professional journalism in addressing the Palestinian issue and covering news from Palestine, especially in its coverage of the occupation's latest aggression against the city of Jenin and its refugee camp. This has been clearly evident in its failure to maintain the balance and objectivity required by professional journalism in addressing the intra-Palestinian [political] situation. [This conduct] is a potential threat to public order and to the social fabric, and violates the laws of the State of Palestine, based on which Al-Jazeera operates [in the PA territories].

"Accordingly, we hold you responsible, and regretfully inform you that that, if your channel continues this behavior, we will be forced to take the necessary [legal] measures, according to the laws and regulations of the State of Palestine.

"Respectfully yours,

"Nabil Abu Rudeineh,

"Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information"

Nabil Abu Rudeineh's letter (Image:, July 6, 2023)

Columnist In PA Daily: Al-Jazeera Is A "Propaganda Machine" Of The Muslim Brotherhood

The attack on Al-Jazeera also found expression in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, in an article by columnist Bassem Barhoum. In his July 9, 2023 column, Barhoum called the channel a "propaganda machine" of the Muslim Brotherhood whose function is to burnish the image of Hamas and advance it as an alternative to the PA. He wrote: "The residents of Jenin and its refugee camp know [very well] and talk about the fact that Hamas did not play any real or serious role in resisting the barbaric Israeli aggression against the Jenin refugee camp. However, Hamas has Al-Jazeera and the enormous propaganda machine of the Muslim Brotherhood to cover up its absence [from the battlefield]. In fact, this propaganda machine even created the opposite impression, presenting [Hamas] as the one that confronted [the Israeli forces in Jenin] and led the event. The residents of Jenin and its refugee camp know and talk about the fact that Fatah and the PIJ were the ones who stood up against [the Israeli forces in Jenin], and that six out of the 12 martyrs who ascended to heaven during this steadfast resistance campaign were from Fatah...

"The propaganda machine led by Al-Jazeera – which is tasked with burnishing [the image of] Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and their global movement, and which misleads people and covers up Hamas' strategic understandings with Israel and its firm commitment to a truce in Gaza – is completely committed to  presenting Hamas as the one who led the confrontation in Jenin and its refugee camp…

"Hamas essentially has [only] one poisoned finger engaged in resistance, and nine fingers engaged in sowing fitna [internal strife] among the Palestinian people. [It does this] not in order to find favor with global Zionism and the U.S., but in order to ensure that the [entire] global movement [of the Muslim Brotherhood] finds favor with them and can take control of the Arab countries. Hamas is [just] the bait in all of this, and the Palestinian people must not swallow the bait and buy [the story of Hamas'] 'resistance.' For when Hamas receives the role of subduing the Palestinian people, it will carry it out with fire and with an iron fist… Then Al-Jazeera and its ilk will show up to promote this plan, as long as it is carried out with the consent of global Zionism and its great masters and serves their interests."[12]

Palestinian Journalist: Qatar's Al-Jazeera Has Always Served The Islamists, Sowed Division In The Islamic And Arab World

'Abd Al-Majid Sweilem, a columnist for the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, harshly attacked the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel, saying that, from its inception, it has always served extremist Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda, in order to spark internal strife in the Arab and Islamic world. He wrote: "The Qatari Al-Jazeera channel has gone through several phases… and, thanks to a known and familiar factor – namely Qatari money – miraculously  became a media icon and an octopus-like global [media] network… Al-Jazeera's budget when it was first established… equaled the budget of some poor countries …

"Al-Jazeera was established just as the global information and information technology revolution was making itself felt, and at a time of dramatic turning points on the global and regional levels.  It was the only channel in the world that covered the U.S. war in Afghanistan and relayed 'the voice of Al-Qaeda' and its leaders to the Islamic and Arab world…

"The rise of Al-Jazeera coincided with the Islamist wave, and it can be said with confidence that, as much as this Islamist wave needed Al-Jazeera, Al-Jazeera needed this Islamist wave. It was a mutual need and a puzzling one, which can hardly be written off as a coincidence…  

"Then came the 'Arab Spring' and the channel's 'heroic' attempt to destroy the Arab societies, which harmed the region. [The channel] exploited the desire of the people in the region to save themselves from corrupt and tyrannical regimes… and their desire for freedom and democracy, until anyone [emerging from] the new Islamist wave was placed at the head of the 'Arab Spring' revolutions, and we all know how that turned out and what the cost was…

"Al-Jazeera's founding was the outcome of an agreement and division of labor between the CIA and various groups of the Muslim Brotherhood… and eventually its management was placed under the official oversight of the Qataris…

"Al-Jazeera's media influence greatly declined after the media massacres it perpetrated against the peoples and countries of the [Arab] nation… especially in the era of its harsh clashes with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and some of the Gulf Cooperation Council states.  Its distortions peaked after the Egyptian army deposed the Muslim Brotherhood regime [in Egypt].

"Al-Jazeera waged all-out war against every patriot and nationalist in the Arab region. It disgraced Arabhood and nationalism. Acting in the service of its founders, it made sure that anyone who was not an Islamist became the victim of a media persecution campaign. It began looking for a revolutionary guise to hide all its media crimes against an entire nation. The portion of these crimes [directed at] Palestine was very large… as large as the coup [carried out by Hamas in Gaza in 2007], which [Al-Jazeera] strongly supported, with the aim of dividing the Palestinian people… 

"Al-Jazeera never rests until it finds a way to spark fitna… Wherever the [Muslim] Brotherhood and the Islamists are present, Al-Jazeera is behind them, prettifying their actions and fabricating reports in their service… Al-Jazeera is uncommonly expert in [spreading] disinformation and professionally skilled at sowing division…

"During the recent aggression against the brave Jenin [refugee] camp, Al-Jazeera found what it so desperately sought. It clapped its hands in joy and glee when certain [elements] spoke against Fatah, or when the PA arrested someone, or when Hamas and the PIJ [announced] they would not attend the meeting of [faction] heads…  Al-Jazeera nearly lost its mind when the opportunity to spark fitna threatened to elude it. The channel's decision makers… put words into the mouths of [its] presenters, hoping to realize Al-Jazeera's aspiration of sparking great fitna among the fighters of the various factions, or between the residents of the refugee camp and the official leadership, or between the residents and [Fatah's military wing,] the Al-Aqsa Martyrs [Brigades]… But the residents of the camp and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades caused Al-Jazeera to miss this opportunity yet again…"[13]

Al-Jazeera's Response: The PA's Accusations Are Groundless; We Are Committed To Journalistic Standards

On June 8, two days after the publication of Abu Rudeineh's letter, Al-Jazeera responded to his complaints with a letter by its acting director general, Mostefa Souag. The letter was brief, possibly in order to refrain from highlighting the criticism against Al-Jazeera and put an end the affair as quickly as possible. Moreover,  it was circulated on the Palestinian and Qatari media, but did not appear on Al-Jazeera's official platforms. The letter said:

"To the honorable Nabil Abu Rudeineh, deputy prime minister and information minister of the Palestinian Authority:

"In response to your letter to the honorable board chairman of the Al-Jazeera network regarding the news coverage of the recent events in the Jenin refugee camp, we stress that we welcome any constructive criticism aimed at preserving the standards of accuracy and journalistic professionalism. At the same time, we were puzzled by the letter, which did not [address] a specific incident that can be reexamined or assessed. Rather, the letter directed a general accusation at Al-Jazeera, of not adhering to professional standards. After reviewing all the coverage of the relevant events on the Al-Jazeera network, we find this accusation to be completely groundless. In this context, we would like to affirm Al-Jazeera's commitment to its editorial policy and professional standards of accuracy, objectivity and balance in all its news coverage, and to affirm that it will not change this editorial policy in response to pressure or threats from any party. We reiterate that the Al-Jazeera network will continue to be open to everyone and to constantly strive to convey the truth with the maximum objectivity and integrity.

"Respectfully yours,

"Dr. Mostefa Souag,

"[Al-Jazeera] Acting Director General"[14]

Al-Jazeera's letter (Image:, July 8, 2023)

Al-Jazeera News Director: We Did Our Best To Give The Viewers A Complete Picture Of The Events

In addition, a July 6 article in the Qatari daily Al-Sharq praised Al-Jazeera's professional coverage of the Jenin events. The article made no mention at all of the PA's and Fatah's accusations  against the channel, but it was clearly intended as a response to these accusations. It said: "The Al-Jazeera channel provided further proof of its professionalism... when it directed the viewers' attention away from the [other] burning regions around the world to Jenin and its refugee camp by means of continuous and full coverage of the latest Israeli aggression. As is its custom, the channel launched an around-the-clock broadcast in the last few days and continuously followed the events in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, by means of its teams that were [right there] on the front, inside the camp..."

The article quoted Al-Jazeera's news director, 'Asef Hamidi, who praised the channel's reporters and comprehensive coverage, saying: "Immediately after the start of the Israeli invasion of Jenin, the Al-Jazeera team managed to enter the area and get close to the events in order to air live images and report on the rapidly-unfolding developments… The head of our offices [in Palestine], colleague Walid Al-'Omari, followed the overall picture, so as to present a summary of all the developments and statements issued by the Palestinian resistance, the occupation and the PA… As part of this coverage, Al-Jazeera interviewed several prominent officials, such as Saleh Al-'Arouri, in charge of Hamas in the West Bank; PIJ political bureau member Muhammad Al-Hindi, and Nabil Abu Rudeineh, an advisor to the Palestinian President. In addition to our reporters and these officials, our coverage featured the best political and military commentators and experts on Israel – all in order to complete the picture for the viewers…"[15]

Qataris Close To Al-Jazeera Come To Its Defense: The PA Is An Agent Of Israel

Figures affiliated with Al-Jazeera came to its defense on social media, saying that the PA's attack on it was meant to cover up the fact that the PA is actually an agent of Israel and collaborates with it. Former Al-Jazeera director Yasser Abu Hilalah, for example, tweeted: "Fatah is clearly divided between those who took the more appropriate approach, that of [Fatah's military wing], the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and those who have drowned in the mire of the security coordination [with Israel]. [The members of] the second camp agreed to become a department of [Israel's] Shin Bet undercover units in order to spy, persecute and engage in media incitement [against the resistance] on the so-called 'Palestine channel' [i.e., the PA's official television channel]."[16]  

Abu Hilalah's tweet

Qatari media figure 'Issa Bin Muhammad Aal Ishaq shared the letters issued by the PA and Al-Jazeera, and harshly attacked the PA, writing: "The treasonous PA is not ashamed  to expose its disgrace. The letter it sent to Al-Jazeera was like standing naked on the street corner. Oh PA, PLO and Fatah, your betrayal of your people and your collaboration with the Zionists is what exposes your shame, not Al-Jazeera or the media…"[17]

Members of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which is supported by the Qatari establishment and is based in Doha, also attacked the PA and defended Al-Jazeera. IUMS board member Muhammad Al-Saghir tweeted Al-Jazeera's answer letter to Nabil Abu Rudeineh, and wrote:  "The authority in Ramallah [i.e., the PA] criticizes Al-Jazeera, which broadcast the occupation's crimes in the Jenin refugee camp to the world, because this [coverage also] resulted in exposing the gravity of [the PA's] security cooperation with the Israeli army against the resistance fighters. In fact, [the PA] provides the occupation with all the information it needs and even carries out waves of arrests and torture that [even] the Zionists would not dare to carry out."[18]

Another IUMS member, Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shinqiti, who is also a lecturer at Qatar University, shared the two letters and tweeted: "The Ramallah authority headed by Abu Mazen [Mahmoud 'Abbas], [which engages in] security coordination with the Zionists, attacks Al-Jazeera to cleanse itself of the shame of abandoning its people during the recent aggression in Jenin and [the shame of] of its collaboration with the usurping enemy, which has been ongoing since the cursed Oslo Accords…"[19]  


[1] The fighters killed were members of the Al-Quds Brigades and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (,, July 5, 2023).

[2] See, for example, a joint statement by the Palestinian resistance factions in the Jenin refugee camp (, July 6, 2023).

[3], July 3, 4, 2023;, July 6, 2023.

[4], July 5, 2023.

[5] It should be noted that similar conflicts between the PA and Qatar have emerged in the past. See e.g., MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 3532 - Qatar and PA Clash over Al-Jazeera Document Leak – January 24, 2011.

[6] Statements to this effect from numerous Fatah officials were published by the PA's news agency following the military operation in Jenin (, July 5, 6, 2023).

[7] The PA leadership announced this initiative concurrently with its announcement about the suspension of the contacts the security coordination with Israel, and it was reported that Egypt had agreed to host the meeting (, July 3, 5, 2023). Al-Jazeera reported, citing its sources, that Hamas and the PIJ did not respond to the invitation, and that they also stated that holding such a meeting was not in keeping with the PA's "arrest of resistance fighters" (,, July 6, 2023).

[8], July 6, 2023.

[9], July 6, 2023.

[10] Similar statements were made by the head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Nasser Abu Bakr, and the secretary of the Palestinian Writers Union, Murad Al-Sudani., July 6, 2023.

[11], July 6, 2023.

[12] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 9, 2023.

[13] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 10, 2023.

[14],, July 8, 2023.

[15] Al-Sharq (Qatar), July 6, 2023.

[16] Twitter,com/abuhilalah, July 7, 2023.

[17], July 9, 2023.

[18], July 9, 2023.

[19] July 8, 2023.

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