The Palestinian Authority and its security forces continue with their human rights violations, a Palestinian monitoring organization charges.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) and its security forces continue to assault journalists and prevent freedom of the press in the areas under its control, a Palestinian watchdog announced Wednesday.
In a statement, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expressed concern “at the escalation of violations against media freedoms” in the PA by security forces.
MADA vaguely attributes the mounting violations to “the increased tension due to the internal political division,” which seems to insinuate that rival Palestinian factions target journalists based on affiliation.
The organization cited several recent cases in which journalists were detained, arrested and assaulted, in addition to the violations committed against lay citizens for expressing opinions contrary to the party line.
For instance, on Monday the Palestinian Intelligence Service detained Al-Hurriyye Radio anchor Ra’ed Shareef in Hebron until midnight after summoning him in the afternoon of the same day.
In another incident, Palestinian Security Forces arrested Al-Quds Press International News Agency correspondent Khaldoun Mazloom in Shechem. (Nablus).
They also arrested Media Production photojournalist Haitham Warasne and his former colleague, Amr Halayqa of Hebron.
In the Gaza Strip, under control of the Hamas terror organization, similar types of violations occur frequently.
Arrisala media institution photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Hassira was assaulted by Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades members while covering an event in Gaza.
Internews Agency correspondent Tareq Al-Farra was arrested and interrogated by the Internal Security forces in Gaza for criticizing comments on Facebook.
Al-Farra recounted his harrowing experience to MADA: “I went to the Internal Security headquarters in Khan Younis after they summoned me. They put me in the waiting room and blindfolded me. They told me to hold a pole that was inside the room and told me to never sit down. At around 11 o’clock they started interrogating me about my writings on Facebook and [for] criticizing the General Prosecutor’s decision of closing Jawwal Company. They were beating me at my back and loins during the interrogation.”
The watchdog reported a total of 48 violations of freedom of the press in June alone.
MADA condemned “all of these violations” and demanded that Palestinian officials “not involve the press, media freedoms and public freedoms in any political disputes.”
Growing Phenomenon of Oppressive PA Rule
In 2014, the Palestinian Authority ranked near the bottom of a list of countries on the index of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders – 138 out of 180.
Human rights violations and limiting of personal freedom are reoccurring offenses by the PA and Hamas.
In May, a leading Palestinian advocacy group said human rights for Palestinians living under the PA and Hamas rule in Gaza are at their “worst” in years. Violations include bans on peaceful gatherings, and rights violations “increased in volume” over the past four years, the group said.
A recent poll conducted among the Palestinians revealed that they considered the PA leadership corrupt and dangerous, they are bitterly disappointed with their lives under the PA, they believe they have no real freedom under either PA or Hamas rule, and a large segment is contemplating emigration.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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