Saturday, January 16, 2021

Protests held across West Bank in solidarity with Palestine TV attacked in Gaza

By Ary Gotlib - January 17, 2019
Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES]
Tags: [protests] [press freedom] [Gaza]

“It’s serious what happened with Palestine TV, it’s supposed to be a crime to attack freedom of the press,” denounced Musa Al-Shaer, photojournalist and member of the Palestine Journalist Syndicate.

On January 4, at least five assailants raided the headquarters of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC, also known as Palestine TV) in Gaza City in the besieged Gaza Strip.
According to Wafa Agency the attackers were armed with sticks, sharp objects and pistols. They destroyed thousands of dollars of equipment, including cameras, computers, furniture, surveillance cameras, archives and portraits of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and late president Yasser Arafat.
Since then, Hamas, the ruling government in the Gaza Strip and Fatah, the majority party of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, have blamed one another for the responsibility of the attack.
In response to this raid, Fatah’s Ministry of Information, along with the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate (PJS) organized protests in West Bank cities such as Tulkarem, Hebron and Bethlehem. The protests showed their solidarity with local press.

On January 10, in the yard of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, around 60 people, including journalists from all media working in the West Bank and politicians gathered in solidarity with journalists of the TV studio raided.
For Al-Shaer, Hamas coordinated the raid in order “to stop the voices of these journalists who are working for television [and] radio.”
He asked for the respect of Basic Law and the right of people in obtaining information.

“You will not terrorize us because we are continuing to expose the voice of truth under our legitimate leadership - continuing the coverage, Palestine TV” is written on the poster.
The PBC is funded by the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by the Fatah political party. Between Hamas and Fatah, tensions have spiked recently.
Musa Al-Shaer argued the underlying Brotherhood projet of Hamas is against the PA project for Palestine. “Hamas closed 25 media offices since 2007 in the Gaza Strip,” Al-Shaer stated.

Journalist Hayat Khader Hamdan held a live cross on Palestine TV to broadcast the event.
“I strongly condemn what happened. The best answer is to continue the work," Hamdan declared in support of her colleagues.
She fears the conditions to exercise journalism has become more and more difficult, not only due to the Israeli occupation, but also the Hamas-Fatah conflict.

“Hamas in Gaza feels fragile, Palestine TV is strong. So the first wants to impede the activities of the second,” Kamil Hemeid, Governor of Bethlehem district, said.
On January 5, Hamas arrested five men who had allegedly taken part in the attack on the PBC office. The Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza affirmed in a statement that they are "employees of the Palestinian Authority whose salaries have been cut recently.”
For several years, a division has been set up within Fatah’s supporters of Mohammed Dahlan and those of Mahmoud Abbas. The later, in alleged reprisals would cut the salary of functionaries and supporters of Dahlan.
Dahlan, was the former leader of Fatah in Gaza, he has endorsed numerous executive functions and was expelled of Fatah in 2011, Abbas suspecting him to have poisoned Yasser Arafat.
Manal Khamis Jarad, member of the General Secretariat of the PJS doesn’t trust the Hamas statement. “We hold them fully responsible. Assailants stayed two hours in the office,” Jarad affirmed by deploring the tacit complicity and protection of Hamas.

“The Palestinian Journalist Syndicate stands against the repressive acts against the staff of radio and television in Gaza.” we can read on the poster.
“Fatah and Hamas want to stand each by itself without any cooperation, that’s the main problem,” Safwat Awad, News and Political program director of Palestine TV stated. Awad believes this rift is affecting journalists. “Now journalists are under pressure.”
For Awad, “Hamas doesn’t want journalists to speak out against the political situation in Gaza or even about Fatah.”
“Hamas leaders dream about a full control over the information in Gaza,” he concluded.

Safwat Awad wants to point out the solidarity shown by the foreign media in Gaza by providing material so that journalists can continue their activities.

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