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Poll: 68% of Palestinians don't believe Al-Jazeera leaks

Jan. 29, 2011 10:13 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 31, 2011 8:27 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Over two-thirds of Palestinians living in the occupied territories doubted the accuracy of leaked PLO documents shortly after they were published by Al-Jazeera, the results of a recent poll said.

The Qatar-based satellite network has published over 1,600 confidential documents relating to over a decade of negotiations with Israel.

According to the poll, conducted just after the series, 99 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem heard about the leaked documents, dubbed the Palestine Papers, but 68 percent did not believe them.

There was little variation across the territories, with 71 percent in the West Bank doubting the documents, compared to 64 percent in Gaza.

However, the majority of Hamas supporters polled believed the leaked papers were real, while most Fatah supporters said they were fabricated.

Both factions agreed the leak of the documents would serve Israeli interests, with 88 percent saying Israel would benefit most from their publication.

Only five percent said the Palestinian Authority would benefit from the leak.

The survey was conducted by Near East Consulting. A random sample of 897 Palestinians aged above 18 were polled. There was a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

The PA's response to the papers has focused on Al-Jazeera, and 64 percent of Palestinians said the channel's coverage of the issue was not neutral.

One-third of respondents said the network was objective, while 62 percent said it was sympathetic to Hamas. Only five percent said the station's sympathies were with the PA.

Some 59 percent of Palestinians considered the leaks to be a negotiations tactic.

Regarding the impact of the papers, 83 percent of those polled said they would lead to internal conflict.

The poll also revealed that Al-Jazeera was less trusted by Palestinians since leaking the documents.

In an October 2010 poll, 45 percent of respondents cited Al-Jazeera as their most trusted TV channel. The latest poll showed that figure dropped to 23 percent.
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