Journalists cover a protest in Hebron 390.
(photo credit: Michael Omer-Man)
Palestinian journalists on Thursday called on the Palestinian Authority to ban
Israeli reporters from entering Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
the past few weeks, Palestinian journalists and activists have threatened or
harassed a number of Israeli reporters covering Palestinian affairs.
most recent incident occurred this week when Channel 1 correspondent Yoram Cohen
was forced to leave a press conference in Ramallah after Palestinian journalists
protested against his presence.
One of the journalists, Naela Khalil,
later boasted that she had managed to expel an Israeli reporter from the press
The PA minister for prisoners’ affairs was holding the press
conference following Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh’s death from cancer in an Israeli
Cohen’s attempt to explain that he had received permission from
the PA deputy minister of information to cover the press conference did not
persuade the journalists, who demanded that he leave immediately. The PA
official has since denied granting Cohen permission.
In a similar
incident, Ohad Hemo, who covers Palestinian affairs for Channel 2, said that
activists had threatened him and his crew when he arrived at central Ramallah’s
Manara Square to cover a rally.
Palestinian activists and journalists
also published photos on Facebook depicting what they said was an assault
against another Israeli journalist in Ramallah. One of the photos featured the
correspondent’s smashed microphone on the ground after the assault.
has become dangerous for Israeli reporters to enter Palestinian cities, mainly
because of the incitement by some Palestinian journalists,” a veteran Israeli
correspondent told The Jerusalem Post.
“We are trying to solve the issue
by talking to senior Palestinian Authority officials, and we hope we will find a
But on Thursday, more than 200 Palestinian journalists signed
a petition calling on the PA leadership to issue an order banning Israeli
reporters from entering and working freely in Palestinian cities.
petition claimed that the PA leadership was discriminating against Palestinian
journalists because top PA officials preferred to deal with Israeli
The journalists also demanded that the PA refrain from
providing any security for Israeli correspondents.
“This measure would be
the least that can be done in response to ongoing assaults on Palestinian
journalists,” the petition said. It specifically protested Israeli restrictions
preventing Palestinian reporters from entering Jerusalem.
said their demand was aimed at “isolating the Israeli media which is
contributing to misleading and relaying a false and harmful image of the
Last month, the PA Ministry of Information, the
Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and the PA governor of Hebron issued an order
banning Israeli reporters from entering the city without permission from the PA
The Palestinians also warned local journalists against
cooperating with Israeli colleagues who entered Hebron without
PA Deputy Minister of Information Mahmoud Khalifa accused
Israel of restricting 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 lands of the State of Palestine without
permission from the relevant authorities.”
Khalifa said that any Israeli
or international journalist caught without permission would be detained and
handed over to the Israeli-Palestinian District Liaison Office.
Qawassmeh, a senior member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, confirmed
that the ban had been issued following pressure from Palestinian
Defending the ban, he said it was designed to “protect
Palestinian journalists and restore their dignity in light of [Israeli]
restrictions imposed on them.”
Qawassmeh pointed out that the ban also
applied to international journalists, who would need permission in advance in