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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian Journalists’

A Glimpse of Things to Come: Arab Press Protesting Hamas Repression

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

The biggest victims of the peace talks, it turns out, are not the Israelis, not even those hardier, more spirited Israelis living east of the green line. Without a doubt, the ones who stand to lose the most from the creation of a Palestinian state are the Arabs who live there.

I wrote in the past about the sharp decline in the quality of life in the Arab parts of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, after the signing of the Oslo accords, back in 1993.

The Oslo Accords were a terrible idea. They were not at all an honest attempt to establish long-lasting peace between Arabs and Jews. Instead, they schemed to keep the Arabs under the control of a team of outside gangsters, paid by Israel.

In Oslo, Israel inflicted on the Arabs a permanent policy of Divide and Conquer, sentencing them to a slow and debilitating decline. So far, unfortunately, the Israeli plan has been working. One half of the Palestinians have been reduced to poverty. All of them are living in constant fear of violence, without the most elementary rights which you and I take for granted.

On Thursday, a group of Arab journalists joined a sit-in strike near Ramallah protesting a decision by the Hamas government in Gaza to close media offices of Ma’an Network, Al Arabiya and others.

Earlier this year and last year, those same journalists protested the heavy handed manner in which the Palestinian Authority was dealing with unflattering reports on Facebook – interrogating and throwing the authors to jail. A Human Rights Watch report issued in 2011 said Palestinian journalists are being subjected to detention and abuse at the hands of Palestinian security agencies, “a pattern that has led many to self-censor and produced a chilling effect on the free exchange of information and ideas.”

In the seven “West Bank” cases examined in some depth in the report, HRW said the “harassment and abuse of journalists reflected attempts to prevent free speech and inquiry into matters of public importance, and to punish writers solely because of their statements critical of the Palestinian Authority or their perceived support of its political rivals.”

But this time around it was all about Hamas, and the protesters included Palestinian politicians and dignitaries–who, no doubt will some day intimidate and brutalize those very protesters. For now, though, they urged the Hamas government to reopen all the media offices it closed, and to end a ban on the entry of three major Palestinian newspapers into Gaza.

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The protest was organized and called by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the main press union in Palestine.

Back in 2004, the Palestine Journalists Syndicate (PJS) announced a ban on journalists who dared to report on disputes between Palestinians. On July 20, 2004, the PJS threatened that journalists would face “penalties” if they “dealt with or carried statements or publications dealing with internal events and inclined to slander, libel or harm others.”

Not in Gaza, mind you, in Ramallah, and not Hamas – back then the PLO still ruled in Gaza.

Obviously, there’s only one place where those frisky reporters are permitted to roam around freely and report whatever they wish, with cordial and professional assistance from the authorities. You guessed it – in Israel, that apartheid state they so love to revile.

Head of the journalists syndicate Abdul-Nasser Najjar addressed the protesters and expressed astonishment over the ongoing assaults against journalists in Gaza.

“We were surprised as Hamas continued with assaults against Palestinian media organizations, shutting down offices of Ma’an News Network and some other media offices. This is part of an ongoing practice,” Najjar said. He highlighted that “since Hamas staged its coup in Gaza, the main three Palestinian daily newspapers were banned in the Gaza Strip.”

But, you know, only a year ago, in July 2012, Abdel Nasser Najjar called for boycotting a meeting between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Arab journalists. Najjar, an old PLO hand, warned that punitive measures would be taken against journalists who attended the meeting in Jerusalem.

It must be embarrassing, if not outright infuriating, for a journalist who spends half his day working like a serious professional in a Western democracy, vilifying Jews and whatnot, and then, at night, crossing over to the Heart of Darkness that is the Palestinian-run areas.

More than 500 Fatah and Hamas Media Freedom Violations Since Split

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has released a statement saying that since “the internal Palestinian division in mid-June 2007,” the “Palestinian people are still suffering from its very bad and negative effects.”

Palestinian Journalists are subjected to massive violations which include arrest, torture, beatings, detention, and repeated calls for investigation, in addition to the closure of media outlets, the prevention of journalists from collaborating together, and the prevention of distributing daily newspapers, the rights Network says.

The number of violations against journalists and the media committed by both sides since the start of the division, when Hamas evicted the PLO from Gaza, reached beyond 500 violations, reads the statement.

One of the results of this brutality has been the promotion of self-censorship on the part of journalists and media outlets, seriously curtailing the quality of news reports available to Palestinians.

The Network says there has been some improvement in the area of media freedoms in 2012 and in the first months of 2013, but adds that “the serious violations against journalists during the past month do not promise serious breakthroughs in the status of media freedoms, especially with the stalled efforts to implement a reconciliation.”

Having said that, the Network quickly reminds us that the real, and biggest violators are still “the Israeli occupation and its settlers,” whom the Network accuses of committing more than 800 violations during the same period, including the killing of eight journalists.

Captain Eytan Buchman, IDF Spokesperson, responded to an inquiry by The Jewish Press regarding the above accusation of killing journalists:

“The IDF takes every possible measure to contend with security threats using the most minimal, effective measures. In many cases, but more so in Gaza, terrorist groups such as the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad exploit civilians and even the media as human shields. While this represents a conscious and deliberate decision to endanger local residents and journalists, the IDF still takes every possible measure to minimize collateral damage, even while rockets launched from urban areas in Gaza continue to target Israeli civilians.

“During operation ‘Pillar of Defense,’ the IDF went beyond what was required both by international law and the IDF’s military code. This included the use of pinpoint fire, real-time intelligence on targets to prevent civilian causalities and warnings being given to local residents prior to IDF operations.

“Numerous sources reveal the cynical exploitation of media coverage. For example, AP themselves live-tweeted the strike on a media building that housed an Islamic Jihad meeting. For more examples, please see this article.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/more-than-500-fatah-and-hamas-media-freedom-violations-since-split/2013/06/19/

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