On the West Bank, in Ramallah, an organization very concerned with the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and press in, at last, an internationally authorized Palestinian state, is the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms. Among its goals:
“Promotion (of) a culture of freedom of opinion and expression, and working to develop legislation for these rights” as well as “contributing to human rights defense and democracy to enhance in Palestinian society” (Madacenter.org, April 25).
On March 15, MADA reported Gaza “internal security forces attacked a youth sit‐in that was demanding an end to the then internal political divisions between Fatah and Hamas.” A Russian TV cameraman also was beaten at the scene.
A Palestinian journalist tried to help him: “So they then began beating me with batons and sticks despite being fully aware that I am a journalist.”
Ah, but that’s Gaza — a police state. What about the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority and its Fatah political party are the government? Will the U.N. voting on a Palestinian state be shown Human Rights Watch’s April 6 report: “No News Is Good News: Abuses Against Journalists by Palestinian Security Forces”? Not only Gaza’s.
This report documents cases in which Abbas’ Palestinian Authority security also “tortured, beat and arbitrarily detained journalists, confiscated their equipment.”
This authoritarian contempt for free expression is getting worse and worse. Human Rights Watch cites the Palestinian journalism watchdog, MADA, as revealing that: