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June 29, 2021 12:04 pm
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Palestinian Journalists Turn Against the PA

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

Opinion

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas takes part in a virtual meeting with Palestinian faction heads, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sept. 3, 2020. Photo: Alaa Badarneh / Pool via Reuters.

There have been numerous attacks on journalists during anti-government rallies in the West Bank over the past few days. Undercover Palestinian police and Fatah members have been filmed attacking journalists, destroying cameras, and committing other human rights abuses. Many journalists have been injured.

A number of journalists protested by cutting up their press cards, saying that the Palestinian Union of Journalists has not been protesting and has not been protecting them.

Finally, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate issued a statement condemning the Palestinian Authority (PA) for these attacks on journalists. They called on the PA to dismiss the current police chief, and they called for a clear apology. They said that journalists will not cover news about the government or presidency until these demands are met.

This is, as far as I know, unprecedented. The media (outside Gaza) has always been in the pocket of the PA government.

I’ve never seen the PA this shaky. The government insists it created a commission of inquiry into the death of political candidate Nizar Banat, but no one believes that it will be impartial. The PA has also staged pro-government demonstrations and heavily covered them in their own media, while ignoring the anti-government demonstrations, which is fooling no one.

The current protests are of a different nature than previous ones, and this is one of the biggest threats to the PA since it was created.

Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh has quoted Mahmoud Abbas as saying in 2011, “I will step down before the first demonstration against me takes place. I will not accept 4, 10 or 20 people chanting ‘Down with Abbas!’ I will leave before that.”

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