Woman prays at Church of Nativity, Bethlehem..
(photo credit: Reuters)
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
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
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.