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November 19, 2013 4:30 pm

Palestinian Authority Arrests Critical Journalists in Widespread Crackdown (VIDEO)

avatar by Zach Pontz

Palestinian journalists protest their treatment at the hands of the PA security forces. Photo: Screen shot.

Palestinian journalists are fed up with what they perceive to be a crackdown on the press in the West Bank, and they recently took to the streets to protest their treatment at the hands of the Palestinian Authority.

The protest in Ramallah came after multiple incidents in which Palestinian security officers arrested journalists for what they said was slanderous or insulting behavior against public officials, writes Khaled Abu Toameh on the Gatestone Institute’s website.

Palestinian policemen raided the home of George Canawati, director of Bethlehem Radio 2000, earlier this month and arrested him for criticizing the commander of the Bethlehem Police, Col. Omar Shalabi, during his weekly radio program.

Palestinian security officers then also arrested a reporter for the Wattan news website, based in Tulkarem. According to Abu Toameh, security forces did not offer any explanation as to why the reporter was arrested.

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“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 Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Not to be intimidated, the security forces reportedly arrested journalist and blogger Esmat Abdel-Khalek hours after the Ramallah protest.

Abdel Khalek, who teaches journalism at a West Bank university, was arrested last year for posting critical comments on her Facebook account about PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Watch video of the protest (in Arabic) below:

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