MADA: Over 80% of Palestinian Journalists Self-Censor

(An article of Thursday October 16, 2014)

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) released a report, on Thursday, estimating that over 80 percent of Palestinian journalists were engaged in self-censorship.

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The group released a report of its findings following two studies, along with a meeting on self-censorship and its impact on freedom of expression and media in Palestine, according to Ma’an News Agency.

Mousa Rimawi, general director of MADA, said that self-censorship is the most “serious and dangerous kind of censorship” journalists face, noting that the practice began during the Israelioccupation prior to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Rimawi said that direct censorship by Israeli authorities during the First Intifada, in the late eighties, led to self-censorship among Palestinian journalists as media outlets used different methods of skirting Israeli restrictions on media output.

Self-censorship continued after the creation of the PA, Rimawi said, and has escalated “concretely and dangerously” since the 2007 split between Hamas and Fateh.

Ma’an further reports that, during a meeting entitled “Self-censorship: Is there a way to get rid of it?”, dozens of journalists and media students were presented with the results of two studies by MADA which revealed that some 80 percent of journalists surveyed practiced self-censorship on some or all of the material which they had written or produced.

Over 68 percent of journalists claim that their work, or their colleagues’ work, had been banned from being published, at one time or another, by their employer.

They also explained that the practice of self-censorship was related not only to official institutions, but also to fears that society and publishers are not willing to discuss taboo subjects.

MADA released a statement, in December of 2013, which documented “worrying violations” against media freedoms in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The report noted several arbitrary arrests of journalists by PA forces in the West Bank, as well as Hamas security forces in Gaza.

(Source / 28.12.2015)

Dr. Ashrawi on Israel’s recent escalation of its colonial settlement enterprise

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According to a report by Peace Now, the Israeli Ministry of Housing is working on plans to construct 55,548 illegal settlement units in the West Bank (including occupied East Jerusalem); this includes plans to build more than 25,000 units on the Palestinian side of the Apartheid Wall; 8,372 units in the E-1 area; two new settlements (Givat Eitam, south of Bethlehem and Bitronot/Brosh, northern Jordan Valley); and over 12,000 units in occupied East Jerusalem and the Old City, among other illegal settlement projects.

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi condemned Israel’s illegal settlement activities stating:“Once again Israel is exposing its true intentions of destroying the chances for a contiguous and viable Palestinian state while establishing “Greater Israel” on historical Palestine. Israel’s plans to expand its colonial settlement enterprise and to strangle the Palestinian people and their land bring about the end of the two-state solution; this is further proof that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is more interested in pandering to the racist, extremist and settler Israeli population than working to achieve peace and stability.

With its actions, Israel is deliberately defying the global rule of law and international consensus. It is up to the international community to implement its policy positions on the illegal settlements, and to translate its words into serious and concrete action; it has the responsibility to intervene immediately and to exhibit the political will and determination necessary to make Israel cease and desist its flagrant violations of international law and its willful destruction of the peace and security of the whole region.”

(Source / 28.12.2015)

Erekat: Netanyahu’s statements explain Jewish terror

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PLO Secretary General, Dr. Saeb Erekat on Monday  morning has referred to Netanyahu’s statements as an explanation and incitement on Jewish terrorism. 

“Mr. Netanyahu is claiming  that the killing of any human being by a Jew is not comparable to the killing of a Jew by a non-Jew,”  Erekat said, “This is probably why the terrorists who killed the Dawabsheh family haven’t been arrested just as Abu Khdeir family is still waiting for a ruling over the terrorists who burnt alive their 16 years old son, Mohammad.”

Netanyahu’s statements on terrorism came as a response to the “Wedding of Hate” where settler’s were celebrating the killing of baby Ali Dawabsheh and his family in a settler arson attack.

Erekat added that Netanyahu’s referral to  “Palestinian incitement” as an excuse for Israeli terrorism is a further attempt at erasing his political and legal responsibility as the head of a belligerent occupier that violates the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people on  daily basis, including its very right to be free. Israel, the occupying power, continuously uses terror against the Palestinian people.

“Israel  honors the memory of terrorists who were responsible for the assassination of thousands of Christians, Muslims and Jews, including those who assassinated the UN Mediator Count Bernardotte in 1948, those who committed the Deir Yassin massacre, those who blew  up the Kind David Hotel, those who used terror to expel  thousands of people from their homes and land and even convicted terrorists by British Courts. A prominent case is that of  the terrorist Baruch Goldstein who killed 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron, and who has a shrine at the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement, across a park named after Meir Kahane, another Israeli terrorist.”

Once again, Erekat called upon the international community to assume its responsibility to protect the Palestinian people and to stop treating Israel as a state above the law.

(Source / 28.12.2015)

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian vehicles near al-Bireh

RAMALLAH, (PIC)–  A group of Israeli settlers attacked late Sunday Palestinian vehicles while passing near al-Bireh city in the West Bank.

Local sources affirmed that settlers from Beit El illegal settlement stoned Palestinian cars passing at the main road near Jalazoun refugee camp in al-Bireh city.

Attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank have escalated recently from what was already an unacceptably high level.

(Source / 28.12.2015)

26-year-old female MP has big plans for Egypt’s new parliament

Sarah Saleh receives a plaque from Omar al-Mokhtar, president of the National Council for Arab Tribes, congratulating Saleh on her electoral victory, Dec. 24, 2015

CAIRO — Following her victory in the recent Egyptian parliamentary elections, Sarah Saleh, 26, became the youngest parliament member in the history of the South Sinai governorate. In an interview with Al-Monitor, she noted that while her age was the biggest obstacle she faced, she managed to transform it into one of the driving forces of her victory. Saleh said she has now become a representative for the youth of her governorate, and she will bring up their issues and demands before the parliament. She believes unemployment is the main problem facing the youth of South Sinai and fears unemployment and neglect are turning some young residents into terrorists.

The full text of the interview follows:

Al-Monitor:  You decided to run in the parliamentary elections despite being only 26 years old — what are the main obstacles you faced in the electoral battle?

Saleh:  My young age was the biggest obstacle in the elections, in addition to my lack of experience in politics, although I am a member of the National Council for Arab Tribes. It is through this council that I was selected to be on the “For the Love of Egypt” list as the youngest parliamentarian from Sinai. However, I managed to turn this obstacle into positives that led to my victory. I took advantage of my age to approach the youth of Sinai. It was very easy for me to communicate with them since we share the same ideas. I started touring the governorate with the support of some people from my generation who showed enthusiasm for the idea of ​​having a young representative in the parliament. Indeed, my intensive electoral tours and the faith of young people in me led me to score the highest score on the For the Love of Egypt list in South Sinai governorate.

Al-Monitor:  What are the main problems facing your constituency in South Sinai?

Saleh:  The biggest problem plaguing the governorate is widespread unemployment. Facilities, hotels and petroleum companies refuse to employ the people of South Sinai under the pretext that they are not qualified. This is not true. The people of South Sinai are highly qualified and can speak many languages, but the employers are recruiting a workforce from outside the governorate. Moreover, the state does not employ them in government jobs. The Ministry of Religious Endowments, for example, announced the vacancy of 50 positions in South Sinai but chose people who do not hail from the governorate.

Another problem is that the people of South Sinai are unable to own land in Sinai and are only allowed to have usufruct rights. Add to this the health problems in the governorate. South Sinai has some of the largest hospitals in Egypt, but suffers from a lack of medical equipment and a shortage of doctors, as many refuse to work in a remote governorate. A weekly medical caravan must be allocated to South Sinai and it is necessary to employ the people of South Sinai in these hospitals.

Al-Monitor:  Has South Sinai been impacted by the ongoing violence in the neighboring North Sinai governorate?

Saleh:  South Sinai was certainly affected by the violent events that occurred in North Sinai. It should be noted that the South Sinai governorate is completely safe and clear of any violence, but the lack of awareness campaigns to distinguish between the two governorates affected tourism in South Sinai, not to mention the repercussions of the Russian plane crash, which contributed to the deterioration of tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Al-Monitor:  How can Sharm el-Sheikh, which is one of the most important cities in South Sinai, regain its position as an important tourist destination following this plane crash?

Saleh:  The initiatives organized by the ministries, institutions and political parties to visit Sharm el-Sheikh and promote tourism are part of the solution to the tourism crisis in this city. However, the media should target the West and spread messages about the beauty and splendor of the cities of South Sinai, such as Sharm el-Sheikh, Ras Mohammed, Ras Shaitan and Dahab. The youth in Sinai must be employed in the tourism sector since they are the keenest on the return of tourists to their governorate. The state should know that the prevalence of unemployment among the youth of Sinai turns them into terrorists.

Al-Monitor:  Given that you yourself are a young woman from South Sinai, what are the most prominent demands of the youth in your governorate?

Saleh:  The most important demand is combating unemployment and engaging the young workforce by issuing resolutions requiring employers to hire the people of the governorate for their projects. Moreover, a law must be passed allowing the people of Sinai to own lands and attention must be given to health and education services in the governorate.

Al-Monitor:  You’ve stated that you seek to create a training institute for young people in South Sinai focusing on the fields of mining, tourism and the petroleum industry. What is your plan to make this a reality?

Saleh:  I submitted to Maj. Gen. Khalid Fouda, the governor of South Sinai, the project to establish an academy to train the people of the governorate and prepare them for the labor market. The governor welcomed my proposal and confirmed that immediately upon his return from his current travels, he will implement this project. He also promised to hire the youth of the governorate in the vacant governmental jobs within the South Sinai governorate.

Al-Monitor:  What are the demands of Bedouin women in your governorate?

Saleh:  Women in general, and Bedouin women in particular, contributed significantly to the success of the elections and effectively participated in these elections. It is necessary to solve their problems and see to their demands to encourage them to actively participate in all elections in Egypt. The initial demands of the Bedouin women are to have job opportunities and to be trained to fit the labor market in the governorate. Awareness campaigns must be organized to combat the phenomena of early marriage and female genital mutilation, and health care must be provided to Bedouin women and their children.

(Source / 28.12.2015)

Palestinian anger after man shot dead at Egypt border

Palestinians take part in a protest to condemn what Gaza’s interior ministry said was the killing of a mentally-ill Palestinian by Egyptian forces, after he waded across the sea into Egyptian territory, in Gaza City December 27, 2015

Palestinians in Gaza and on social media have expressed outrage over the death of a naked man who was shot as he crossed from the Gaza Strip into Egypt.

A video has spread online purporting to show the man walking in the Mediterranean surf and crossing the posts and fencing marking the border between the Palestinian enclave and Egypt.

Egyptian guards open fire, while someone who appears to be part of the Gazan security forces appears to wave and signal to those shooting to stop because the man is mentally unstable.

Officials from Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, say he suffered from mental illness, though the father of the Gazan man has been quoted as saying he did not.

The video, taken on Thursday, later shows the man’s body on the shore. The Egyptian army has so far not commented on the incident.

The hashtag “Why did they kill him?” has since spread on social media and several dozen Gazans demonstrated on Sunday to demand Egypt return the man’s body to his family.

Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006, while its sole crossing with Egypt has been largely closed since the summer of 2013, when Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown.

Cairo accuses Hamas, which is allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, of supporting attacks in Egypt.

The blockade and the closed Egyptian border means 1.8 million Gazans are effectively trapped inside the small enclave hit by three wars with Israel since 2008.

(Source / 28.12.2015)

MORE THAN 43,600 DISABLED PEOPLE IN GAZA

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Some 43,642 people are living with disabilities in the Gaza Strip, 2.4 per cent of the enclave’s population, a report issued by the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and the National Society for Rehabilitation revealed yesterday.

Board member of the National Society for Rehabilitation and Palestinian Medical Relief Society Director, Dr Aed Yaghi, said: “The issue of disability is one of the important humanitarian issues that occupies a large space of interest across all communities, where the issue affects a significant proportion of the total population – the World Health Organisation’s 2015 figures indicate that those with disabilities represent 15 per cent of the world’s population, which means that there are more than one billion people with disabilities in the world.”

Yaghi estimated that the real number of those with disabilities is far greater than the report shows, pointing out that the figures which the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and the National Society for Rehabilitation based their findings on are the most accurate however they are not the complete numbers.

He stressed on the need for rehabilitation institutions in the Gaza Strip to take advantage of the report and develop a comprehensive perception of the reality of living with a disability in Gaza, as people are now in dire need of rehabilitation services because the majority of them are poor or have limited incomes and need to be empowered.

The figures refer to only the persons with disabilities who were enrolled in the National Society for Rehabilitation and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society.

(Source / 28.12.2015)

Khreisheh slams PA’s attempts to resume peace talks with Israel

TULKAREM, (PIC)– Second deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Hasan Khreisheh has warned that the Palestinian Authority’s intention to hold secret negotiations with the Israelis would liquidate al-Quds intifada (uprising).

“At a time when PA leaders declare there is no possibility for any political solution with the occupation or return to negotiations, they conduct talks under the table and continue to hold meetings with the occupation that persists in killing and executing in cold blood our finest young men and women,” Khreisheh stated in press remarks on Sunday.

He stressed that such behavior by the PA goes against the climate of the intifada, and reflects a complete disregard for the mass execution of Palestinians.

The independent official called on the PA leadership to stop underestimating its people’s intelligence, affirming that the Palestinian people became fully aware of the impossibly of reaching a political solution with the occupation.

“The intifada has brought back the international focus on the Palestinian cause, and there is a need to stop holding meetings with the occupation covertly and overtly, at least in order to maintain our dignity,” he underlined.

The Hebrew radio revealed on Sunday that the PA had sought recently to engage in secret peace talks with Israel in exchange for working on ending the wave of violence in the occupied territories.

(Source / 28.12.2015)

30 Palestinians injured by Israeli troops in Qalqilya clashes

QALQILYA, (PIC)– At least 30 Palestinian civilians sustained injuries on Sunday evening in a wave of violent clashes that rocked Qalqilya’s eastern town of Azzoun, in the central occupied West Bank.

The Red Crescent in Qalqilya said 30 Palestinians suffered injuries and effects of gas inhalation after the Israeli occupation forces attacked them with heavy spates of rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.

The Red Crescent emergency crews said they treated 13 civilians for rubber bullet injuries and 17 others for breathing disorders.

Violent clashes flared up following a march staged after al-Isha (evening) prayers to demand the release of 15-year-old Kariman Sweidan, kidnapped by the occupation troops near northern Qalqilya.

(Source / 28.12.2015)

Group urges investigations into PA violations against journalists

Palestinian security forces block off a pro-Hamas rally from a West Bank checkpoint

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority security forces came under fire Monday from a Palestinian media rights group for a violent assault carried out on journalists in the Ramallah area last week.PA security forces wearing civilian clothing on Friday assaulted several journalists and prevented them from covering clashes that broke out between the forces and protesters in al-Bireh, according to an investigation by the Palestinian Center for Developments and Media Freedoms (MADA).The watchdog said in a statement said that “violent means” used by PA security forces during the incident indicated the “violation of laws” which guarantee freedom of expression.The forces reportedly beat and detained the journalists, preventing them from news coverage while inspecting and seizing their equipment.A correspondent for Palestine Today TV, Jehad Barakat, told MADA that a “human chain” of PA security forces were blocking the path of a demonstration heading toward the illegal Beit El settlement Friday, when clashes broke out between Palestinian protesters and the guards.“My colleague started filming, however, five or six people wearing civilian clothes violently caught him, resulting in tearing his shirt in addition to confiscating his camera,” Barakat told MADA.They dragged me and my colleague away for around 20 meters after I asked for the reasons of preventing the filming of the march,” Barakat continued.The reporters were detained for several hours and all photo and video footage of the march was deleted, Barakat said. MADA urged the PA to hold those responsible for Fridays’ violations against journalists accountable.The group has documented such incidents in the past, reporting in June that violations by Palestinian security forces in 2014 were at their highest since 2008.Palestinian journalists also come under severe restrictions and violations from Israeli forces, last year marking a particularly deadly year for reporters, 17 of whom were reportedly killed by Israeli forces during the war in the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 28.12.2015)