Palestinians call to blacklist, punish Arab journalists who visited Israel

Ramallah officials condemn visit by reporters from Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria for breaking ranks with their Arab compatriots

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Illustrative: Journalists for al-Arabiya on the border of the Gaza Strip (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative: Journalists for al-Arabiya on the border of the Gaza Strip (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority on Thursday denounced a visit by Arab journalists to Israel and called for punishing them to deter others from following suit.

Last week, the Israeli Foreign Ministry hosted a delegation of nine Arab journalists from Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria, in a bid to let them get to know Israel, its history, and its society from up close, the ministry said.

But the PA said that the visit was aimed at “promoting normalization” between the Arabs and Israel. The Palestinians oppose other Arab nations establishing ties with Israel until a peace deal is signed with between Israel and the Palestinians.

The PA Ministry of Information denounced the visit of the Arab journalists and called on Arab media bodies to place them and the media outlets they work for on the Arab boycott “blacklist.”

It called on the Arab Journalists Union to take “punitive and deterring measures” against the journalists and their media outlets.

“Siding with Israel and its terrorism marks a departure from the Arab rank and the decisions of the Council of Arab Ministers of Information,” the PA information ministry said, calling the visit an “inexcusable and unjustified disgrace.”

The visit, it added, “constitutes a departure from the official and popular Arab position that considers Israel a state of occupation, racism, ethnic cleansing, and extremism.”

The PA ministry also blasted the (Israeli) Foreign Ministry for “boasting” about the visit of the Arab journalists.

In a separate development, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, a body dominated by loyalists of the PA’s ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank, on Thursday warned Palestinian and Arab journalists against publishing stories and news from the Israeli media without verifying their authenticity.

The syndicate has in the past condemned some of its members for “promoting normalization” by meeting with Israeli journalists.

The syndicate claimed that information published in the Israeli media was “dangerous to the Palestinian’s fabric of society and unity.”

It was apparently referring to reports published in the Israeli media, and later quoted in some Palestinian and Arab news organizations, to the effect that the PA security forces had helped Israel track down and kill Ahmed Jarrar, the Hamas terrorist suspected of killing Rabbi Raziel Shevach in the northern West Bank last month.

Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, 22, head of the terror cell who shot dead Rabbi Raziel Shevach in the West Bank on January 9. (Twitter)

The syndicate said it has noticed that some Palestinian media outlets had reported on “fabricated statements originally published by the media of the occupation.”

It warned that the syndicate would take measures against anyone who violates its directives.

The syndicate also repeated its warning to Palestinian journalists and media organizations to refrain from using Israeli terminology in their reports.

“The terminology of the Israeli media is abusive to the struggle and sacrifices of the Palestinians as they face the arrogance of the occupation and its ugly crimes against our people,” the Palestinian syndicate charged.

“The occupation is doing its utmost to change the terminology in order to achieve its ugly goals,” it said.

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