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No Christmas spirit in the West Bank: Israeli journalists banned from celebrations
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
24/12/2013
Palestinian journalists applaud the move as justification for "restrictions" imposed on Palestinian media by Israel.
 
The Palestinian Authority said on Tuesday that it expelled Israeli journalists who came to Bethlehem to cover Christmas celebrations.

The PA Ministry of Information said the decision was taken at the request of Palestinian journalists, who protested against the presence of their Israeli colleagues at Manger Square in the city.

The journalists who were kicked out of Bethlehem worked for Haaretz, i-24 News, Channel 1 and Arutz Sheva, the ministry said.

Palestinian journalists praised the PA police for ordering the Israelis out of the city.

Omar Nazzal, a senior representative of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, told the Ramallah-based Wattan TV that the move was justified in wake of “restrictions” Israel imposed on Palestinian journalists.

Earlier this year, a large group of Palestinian journalists launched a campaign to ban Israeli reporters from entering PA -controlled territories in the West Bank.

Since then, several Israeli journalists covering Palestinian affairs have faced threats from their Palestinian colleagues. In once case, Palestinian activists physically assaulted an Israeli TV crew in Ramallah.

The Palestinian journalists have also defended their campaign by arguing that the ban was aimed at “isolating the Israeli media, which is contributing to misinformation and relaying a false and harmful image of the Palestinian reality.”

PA Deputy Minister of Information Mahmoud Khalifa accused Israel of imposing restrictions on the work of Palestinian and international journalists in the West Bank.

“Israel does not honor international laws and conventions calling for the protection of journalists,” he charged. “Israeli reporters have become accustomed to entering the State of Palestine without permission.
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