By Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone—-
The Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank is continuing its unremitting security crackdown on Palestinian journalists, particularly on those who are not affiliated with Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction. Scores of journalists have been arrested or summoned by the PA in the West Bank on a regular basis in the past few years. In the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists are facing a similar campaign of intimidation and harassment.
In the past few days, another two journalists, Hazem Nasser and Amer Abu Arafeh, were arrested by the PA security forces — and not for the first time. Nasser, who is from the city of Tulkarem, and Abu Arafeh, who is from Hebron, have, in fact, become “frequent visitors” of PA detention centers and interrogation rooms.
The incarceration of Nasser and Abu Arafeh brings to 16 the number of Palestinian journalists who have been arrested or summoned for interrogation by the PA security forces in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip just since the beginning of this year.
The Palestinian Committee for Supporting Journalists (PCSJ) has condemned the continued harsh treatment of its colleagues. The journalists were targeted because of their profession and political views, the committee said. It accused the PA and Hamas of waging a campaign of intimidation and harassment against Palestinian journalists by arresting them, summoning them for interrogation, raiding their homes and confiscating their computers and mobile phones.
“The campaign targeting journalists aims at restricting freedoms and rights,” the PCSJ added. It also called on the PA and Hamas to refrain from engaging journalists in the power struggle between the two rival parties (the PA and Hamas).
According to still other Palestinian journalists, Nasser and Abu Arafeh have been regularly and systematically targeted by the Palestinian Authority security forces on the pretext that they are affiliated with Hamas.
Hamas, for its part, has been taking similar measures against Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip who are suspected of being affiliated with Abbas’s Fatah faction. Since the beginning of this year, Hamas has arrested and interrogated four journalists: Huda Baroud, Salah Abu Salah, Tawfiq Abu Jarrad and Luay al-Ghul. Continue Reading….