Palestinians: Abbas Cracks Down on Media, World Looks Other Way
These groups [human rights, media, Western donor governments] see only what the Israeli authorities do. On the side of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, or Hamas in the Gaza Strip, they "see no evil." For Western governments, so long as the Palestinian Authority leadership says it is committed to the peace process with Israel, its leaders are allowed to rule as a dictatorship.
The Palestinian Authority also apparently does not want the outside world, especially international donors, to hear about the financial corruption or violations of freedom of the media. It seems to want criticism to be directed only toward Israel in the hope that this will invite international pressure on the Israelis and force them to accept at the negotiating able all of Abbas's demands .
The Palestinian Authority has resumed its security crackdown on Palestinian journalists and bloggers in the West Bank.
But the crackdown has thus far sparked protests only from Palestinian journalists.
Western governments that fund the Palestinian Authority continue to turn a blind eye to the breach of freedom of expression in the West Bank.
International human rights groups and organizations purporting to defend freedom of the media also continue to ignore the violations against freedom of expression under the Palestinian Authority.
These groups only see what the Israeli authorities do. On the side of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, or Hamas in the Gaza Strip, they "see no evil."
They know about the assaults on Palestinian journalists by Palestinian security forces. But they choose to bury their heads in the sand. It is more convenient and safer to criticize Israel than the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
For Western governments, so long as the Palestinian Authority leadership says it is committed to the peace process with Israel, its leaders are free to rule as a dictatorship.
Western diplomats based in Ramallah say they are fully aware of the anti-democratic measures taken by the Palestinian Authority. But, they add, these measures are an "internal Palestinian issue" that does not concern the international community.
The silence of the international community drove Palestinian journalists to announce that they have had enough and that the time has come to stage public protests against the crackdown.
Scores of journalists staged a protest outside the headquarters of the Palestinian government in Ramallah in protest against the arrest and assault on some of their colleagues by Palestinian security forces.
The journalists called for an end to the persecution of Palestinian journalists and held banners that asked, "Where is freedom of the media?" and, "No to repression and incarceration of journalists."
Palestinian journalists protesting in Ramallah against the arrest and assault of their colleagues by Palestinian security forces, Nov 14, 2013. (Image source: Screenshot of YouTube video by Wattan TV)
The protest, which was almost completely ignored by Western media outlets operating in the West Bank, came after two incidents in which Palestinian security officers arrested journalists.
In the first incident, Palestinian policemen raided the home of George Canawati, director of Bethlehem Radio 2000, and arrested him in what eyewitnesses described as a violent manner.
Canawati, a Christian from the town of Bet Sahour, near Bethlehem, was accused of "slander" for criticizing the commander of the Bethlehem Police, Col. Omar Shalabi, during his weekly radio program.
The following day, Canawati appeared in a Bethlehem court with a black eye and a ripped shirt. He was quoted as saying that the interrogators had physically assaulted him before and during his interrogation.
In the second incident, Palestinian security officers arrested Sami al-Saee, a reporter for the Wattan news website in the West Bank city of Tulkarem. The Palestinian Authority did not offer any explanation as to why al-Saee was arrested.
Hours after the Ramallah protest, Palestinian security officers raided the home of another journalist and blogger, Esmat Abdel Khalek, and confiscated documents and a laptop.
Abdel Khalek, who teaches journalism at a West Bank university, was arrested last year on suspicion of posting critical comments on her Facebook account about the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas.
No reason was given for the latest raid on her home in Ramallah, although Palestinian journalists said that it could be linked to her ongoing criticism of the Palestinian Authority leadership.
"It's harmful and shameful that we the Palestinian journalists are being arrested and intimidated by our Palestinian Authority," a group of Palestinian journalists wrote in a letter to their prime minister, Rami Hamdallah. "We call for an investigation into the arrest and humiliation of George Canawati, as well as the detention of Sami al-Saee for more than 12 hours in Tulkarem."
The Palestinian Authority apparently does not want journalists to report about issues that could reflect negatively on its leaders — possibly the reason why criticism of Palestinian leaders as often denounced by the Palestinian Authority as an act of "treason."
The latest clampdown on the media is aimed at deterring journalists from criticizing the Palestinian leadership; in the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, a journalist is supposed to serve as a spokesman for his president and government.
The Palestinian Authority also apparently does not want the outside world, especially international donors, to hear about the financial corruption and violations of freedom of the media. It wants criticism to be directed only toward Israel in the hope that this will invite international pressure on the Israelis and force them to accept at the negotiating table all of Abbas's demands.
Reader comments on this item
|Yeah right. [25 words]||Hass||Nov 20, 2013 01:12|
|Re: Palestinians: Abbas Cracks Down on Media, World Looks Other Way [74 words]||Mark Matthias||Nov 19, 2013 21:20|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz