By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency –
Palestinian Authority officials have adopted the questionable norm of refusing to meet with Israeli or Jewish journalists, according to veteran journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, in a recent article published by Gatestone Institute.
According to Toameh, Palestinian journalists who try to arrange meetings or interviews with Palestinian Authority representatives for Western colleagues frequently verify that there will be no Jews or Israelis present at the meetings before giving the go ahead.
Just last week, Toameh reports, a journalist who requested a meeting between Western journalists and a top Palestinian Authority official was told “to make sure there were no Jews or Israelis” among the visitors. The official’s aide went on to explain: “We are sorry, but we do not meet with Jews or Israelis.”
Another Palestinian journalist who tried to arrange an interview with a Palestinian Authority official for a European colleague was turned down “because the man’s name indicates he is a Jew. In yet another recent incident, a Palestinian Authority ministry instructed its guards to “prevent Jewish reporters” from attending an event in Ramallah.
It is not clear at this stage if the Palestinian Authority leadership is behind the boycott of Jews and Israelis who seek to meet with its representatives, according to Toameh. What is clear is that Palestinian Authority officials do not hesitate to state in public that they do not want to meet with any Jew or Israeli. The only people with whom they want to meet are those who support the Palestinians and do not ask difficult questions.
The Palestinian Authority earlier this year has imposed severe restrictions on the work of non-Palestinian journalists in the territories under its control. Now, any journalist who wants to visit a Palestinian city or meet with a top Palestinian official needs to get permission in advance from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information. Even the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate has come out in support of these draconian restrictions.
Israeli journalists covering Palestinian affairs, however, continue to defy the ban by visiting Ramallah and other Palestinian cities, putting their lives at risk, according to Toameh.
In a rare opportunity, Tazpit’s journalists managed to attend an interview with Mahmoud Al-Habbash, PA Minister of Religious Affairs in Ramallah in mid-April, as part of a ‘One Voice’ delegation. an organization that promotes a two-state solution.