Government Press Office (GPO) Director Nitzan Chen, on Wednesday decided to revoke the GPO card of senior Al Jazeera Jerusalem correspondent Elias Karram, pending a hearing.
In a 26 May 2016 interview with the Muslim Brotherhood television channel “Dar al-Iman,” the contents of which were delivered to the GPO this week, along with additional material, by Communications Minister Ayoob Kara and Ofir Gendelman, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman for the Arab Media, Al Jazeera’s Karram, said:
“As a Palestinian journalist in an occupied area or in a conflict zone, media work is an integral part of the resistance and its educational political activity. The journalist fulfills his role in the opposition with the pen, voice or camera because he is part of this people and he carries out resistance in his unique way.”
These remarks call into question the ability of Karram, the representative of a foreign network, to cover – as a professional journalist – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which, according to his own words, he is taking an active part, according to the GPO.
Elias Karram, 40, an Israeli citizen from Nazareth, has carried a GPO card on behalf of Al Jazeera since 2011. At his hearing, he will be requested to explain whether or not he is part of the Palestinian people’s resistance to the “Zionist occupation,” as he stated in the interview, and if so, how this affects his work as a journalist according to universal ethics.
GPO Director Chen said in a statement: “The whole issue of GPO cards is bound up with journalist’s rules of ethics and universal fairness regarding news reporting. It would seem that an Al Jazeera correspondent, who serves as a senior field correspondent vis-à-vis news and security events, made the sharp and far-reaching comment that, ‘Any Palestinian journalist should see himself as an integral part of the resistance to the occupation.’ Whoever takes an active part in a political struggle should do so in the framework of the law, but without press credentials from the State of Israel.”
It should be noted that Communications Minister Kara recently contacted GPO Director Chen and requested that the press cards of the entire Al Jazeera personnel in Israel be revoked on the grounds that the network was inciting and agitating to violence in a way that harmed the security of the state.