Abbas Cracks Down on Media, World Looks Other Way

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by Khaled Abu Toameh, GATESTONE INSTITUTE

      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.”

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 …read more
Source: Israpundit

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