Hamas accuses Saudi media of ‘lies, fabrications’

‘Collaborator’ who fled to Israel was not a Hamas commander

A drug addict stands behind bars at a Hamas-run prison in Gaza City March 1, 2017 (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)
A drug addict stands behind bars at a Hamas-run prison in Gaza City March 1, 2017
Hamas has banned Palestinian journalists from appearing on Saudi television news channels accused of “distorting the image” of Palestinian “resistance” groups in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian sources said the ban came after the Saudi news channels, Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath, recently reported that Hamas has arrested a number of its members on suspicion of collaboration with Israel. According to the report, a senior commander of Hamas’s “frogman unit” recently fled to Israel after he was suspected of collaboration with Israeli security agencies.
Musa Abu Marzouk, member of the Hamas “political bureau,” said that the report was untrue and accused some media outlets of working to “defame” Hamas and other Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip.
Abu Marzouk confirmed that Hamas has arrested a number of Palestinians on charges of collaboration with Israel, but said they were not members of Hamas or its military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam.
Abu Marzouk denied that a Hamas commander had fled to Israel. He claimed, however, that a suspected collaborator who recently fled to Israel was not a commander of Hamas or its military wing. “All these reports are lies and fabrications,” he said. “We urge media organizations, specifically Al-Arabiya, to verify the facts before publishing such stories so that they won’t become Hebrew media outlets.”
The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Interior and National Security accused Al-Arabiya of fabrications and spreading lies and rumors after the news channel reported that several Hamas members have been arrested on suspicion of collaboration with Israel.
According to the sources, Hamas has threatened to punish any Palestinian journalist who cooperates with Al-Arabiya and other Saudi-owned media organizations.
Hamas strongly condemns the campaign of misinformation and distortion led by Al-Arabiya, together with other media organizations, and which is based on lies and fabrications created by Israeli security forces,” Hamas said in a statement. “This campaign aims to harm the resistance of the Palestinian people and their confidence in its national and liberation project. Al-Arabiya is standing with the occupation against our people.”
The Hamas measures against Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath are yet another sign of the movement’s deteriorating ties with Saudi Arabia.
Hamas has accused Saudi Arabia of arresting dozens of its prominent figures and leaders in the kingdom in the past two years. The detainees are currently on trial before a Specialized Criminal Court on charges of raising funds and soliciting donations for a terrorist group, according to various reports in the Arab media.
Earlier this month, Hamas announced that its security forces uncovered a cell directed by Israel “during an attempt to carry out a sabotage action against resistance elements” in the Gaza Strip. Hamas said that its security forces seized technical equipment and money in the possession of the cell members.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) on Thursday condemned Hamas’s measures against the Saudi-owned television networks and threats against Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip.
The syndicate said that Hamas security forces have repeatedly summoned for interrogation a number of journalists, including the director of the PJS office in the Gaza Strip, Luay al-Ghul.
“The reality of violations against media freedoms in the Gaza Strip is very dangerous,” PJS said in a statement. “This includes arresting journalists and summoning others for interrogation, as well as restrictions on their work and closing down media institutions.”
PJS pointed out that Hamas has prohibited live broadcasting from the Gaza Strip without prior permission from its security forces.
Hamas has also demanded information about the subject of news programs and the identities of guests invited to appear on TV shows, PJS added.
“Since Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip (in 2007), it has waged a campaign to silence the media and prevent freedom of the press,” the syndicate charged. “According to testimonies of hundreds of journalists, media institutions have been closed since the Hamas coup, including Palestine TV.”