Al-Jazeera Shut Down in West Bank After Guest Accuses Palestinian President in Death of Yassir Arafat

The Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera was forced today to suspend its operations in the West Bank, one day after a guest on the station accused the Palestinian President of playing a role in Yassir Arafat’s death.

The guest, Farouk Kaddoumi, said on a talk show yesterday – without presenting any evidence – that Mahmoud Abbas had played a role in the death five years ago of Arafat, the revered founder of the Palestinian national movement.

In a statement announcing the suspension, the Information Ministry did not mention Mr Kaddoumi’s comments, only accusing the popular Arab satellite TV station of incitement and unbalanced reporting from the Palestinian territories.

The statement added that the ministry took particular issue with an Al-Jazeera broadcast yesterday, without elaborating. The ministry is suing Al-Jazeera, and the station’s operations are suspended until the court has ruled.

The station’s employees in Ramallah were seen piling files into black garbage bags and carrying them out with cameras, computers and other equipment before Palestinian security officials arrived to close the office.

The closure affected both the English and Arabic services of the channel.

Click here to read more on this story from the Times of London.