Palestinian Authority censors websites critical of Abbas

Telecommunications company asked to blacklist sites that support president’s opponents

Ilan Ben Zion is an AFP reporter and a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

In a drastic internet censorship crackdown, Palestinian internet service providers have blocked news sites critical of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Maan News reported.

Eight Palestinian news outlets, dealing primarily with internal Fatah politics, were blacklisted by the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, reportedly by order of Palestinian Attorney General Ahmad al-Mughni.

Some of the blocked sites support Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah leader and critic of Abbas. Dahlan was the leader of Fatah in the Gaza Strip before the organization’s ouster by Hamas in 2007. On his arrival in the West Bank, he was blamed by colleagues for the loss of Gaza, and an intense rivalry began between him and Abbas.

Dahlan accused the Palestinian president of being a weak leader and of allowing his sons to benefit financially from his rule. Fatah booted Dahlan in June because of his repeated criticism of Abbas.

Last month, Palestinian journalist Asmat Abd Al-Khaleq was arrested after making comments on Facebook critical of the Palestinian Authority and Abbas.

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