The Palestinian Authority arrested a journalist from the Ma’an News Agency on Sunday, on charges of “slander, inaccurate reporting, reporting facts that run counter to national responsibility, violating journalistic ethics, and harming national unity.”
In short, the Ramallah-based PA government practically threw the book at Ma’an television network journalist Salim Sweidan.
The hysterical frenzy came in response to Sweidan’s report that the PA collaborated with Israel on the arrest of the suspected murderer of Rabbi Eitam and Na’ama Henkin last October 1 in Samaria.
According to the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet/Shabak), the Hamas terrorist organization was behind the cold-blooded killing. The murder took place before the eyes of the couple’s four young children, who were in the back seat of their vehicle at the time. The Henkins were shot to death in their car while driving near the Jewish town of Itamar.
The Ma’an network reported that PA officials were involved in the subsequent arrest of the Hamas operatives who carried out the attack.
Five suspected members of the terror cell involved in the attack were arrested in a joint operation by the IDF, Israel Police and the Shin Bet within 24 hours of the murder.
To their credit, Ma’an journalists condemned the arrest, and commented that Sweidan was not the source of the reported information. The news agency issued a statement saying, “The Palestinian security services should have denied the report instead of arresting journalists.” Ma’an has called on international and human rights groups to intervene to bring about Sweidan’s release.
The journalist reportedly suffers from high blood pressure and is in poor health.