Workers' strike shuts down largest Palestinian daily for one day

Al-Quds is the only Israeli-licensed newspaper published in broadsheet format in Jerusalem.

By
July 23, 2019 19:41
2 minute read.
A Palestinian man reads the Al-Quds newspaper depicting images newly elected U.S. President Donald T

A Palestinian man reads the Al-Quds newspaper depicting images newly elected U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem's Old City November 9, 2016. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

For the first time since its establishment in 1951, the east Jerusalem newspaper Al-Quds did not appear in its print edition on Tuesday after its workers went on strike.

On Tuesday evening, the management announced that the print edition will reappear on Wednesday, after it reached an agreement with the workers to end the strike. The management did not provide details about the agreement.

Al-Quds is the only Israeli-licensed newspaper published in broadsheet format in Jerusalem.
The workers said they decided to declare an open-ended strike because they hadn’t received salaries for the past four months. They accused the newspaper management of failing to meet a July 22 deadline to pay salaries for March and April.

The workers also accused the management of failing to pay them social and healthcare benefits.
Founded in 1951 by prominent editor Mahmoud Abu Zalaf, Al-Quds is the largest Palestinian daily newspaper in circulation. Abu Zalaf served as editor-in-chief until his death in 2005.

Although it is considered an independent newspaper, Al-Quds served as a semi-official mouthpiece for the Palestinian Authority. Previously, it was known for its close relations with Jordan.

Palestinian journalists said that the crisis in Al-Quds was a result of a sharp financial crisis due to the decline in commercial advertisements and sale of the newspaper.

The former headquarters of the newspaper in east Jerusalem were recently leased to Bank Leumi, a move that drew criticism from some Palestinians. They argued that it was “preposterous” that the offices of a newspaper that was long considered an “icon of Palestinian nationalism” would serve as a branch of an Israeli bank.
The two remaining Palestinian dailies, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat, are published in Ramallah and belong to the PA.

Two other major east Jerusalem newspapers, Al-Fajr and Al-Sha’ab, were closed down in the early 1990s also because of financial crises. The two Israeli-licensed dailies were considered organs of the PLO after the Six Day War in 1967.

A third east Jerusalem newspaper, An-Nahar, which was founded in 1986 by east Jerusalem businessman Othman Halak, was also shut down due to financial hardship in 1997. An-Nahar was considered the only pro-Jordan newspaper after Al-Quds abandoned its pro-Jordan editorial line following the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993.

Unhappy with An-Nahar’s pro-Jordan line, the PA Information Ministry decided in 1994 to ban the distribution of the newspaper in PA-controlled territories. The ministry justified its decision by claiming that An-Nahar had failed to apply for a permit from the PA to distribute in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


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