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Political tension continues to take its toll on journalists in Gaza and West Bank

Political tension continues to take its toll on journalists in Gaza and West Ban
Destroyed: A Palestinian woman sits outside houses damaged in an explosion in the central Gaza Strip August 2, 2010. The explosion in the house of a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip wounded 24 people, a Hamas official and medical workers in the Palestinian territory said. Hamas blamed Israel for the explosion, which it said targeted field commander Alaa al-Danaf. The Israeli military, through an army spokeswoman, denied any involvement.Photo: Reuters

There has been a new wave of harassment and violence against journalists in the occupied Palestinian Territories as the political tension between Hamas and Fatah continues to take its toll on the media. In one of the latest cases, Ahmed Fayadh of the Aljazeeranet news website was beaten by police Thursday in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) reported.

“The climate is becoming more and more unbearable for the media,” RSF said. “Not a week goes by without flagrant press freedom violations in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. It is becoming increasingly common for journalists to be made to pay for the political rivalry between Hamas and Fatah. We urge the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government to act responsibly.”

It said, “The Gaza authorities must order an independent investigation into the attack on Ahmed Fayadh and punish the police officers involved. At the same time, the Palestinian Authorities must lose no time in releasing Dr Farid Abu Duhair and journalist Mohamed Anouar Miny, who were arrested arbitrarily. The journalists Amer Abu Arfa and Tareq Abu Zeid must also be freed without delay.”

Policemen attacked Aljazeeranet reporter Ahmed Moussa Abu Fayadh at around 8:20 p.m. Thursday when he went to cover a concert by the Jordanian group Tuyor Al-Janeh in the Khan Yunis sports complex that was part of a music festival for children.

“They forced me to enter the stadium,” Fayadh told the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “One of the policemen began shouting at me, telling me to hand over my camera. I refused, saying I worked for Aljazeeranet and showing him the photos I had taken. Another policeman arrived and began using all sorts of insults, while yet another policeman took my camera. One of the policemen tried to intervene and calm them down, but without success. They assaulted me in front of my children, who were in tears. Another policeman arrived and asked me for my press card. I gave it to them and they left. And then I left the stadium myself.”

Fayadh went to a hospital before reporting the attack to the police in Gaza City. The police chief gave him an apology and said the incident would be investigated.

Date posted: August 9, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 139