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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Freedom of the press, PalArab style (V): Fatah gets in the game

It is not only Hamas that is harassing and threatening journalists. Yes, even the "moderates" from Fatah and the PA seem to do the same thing:
Palestinian security services personnel on Wednesday dispersed a rally organised by Hamas women. They arrested five people, including journalists. The rally was being held to support the families of political prisoners from Nablus. The families took also part in a meeting before the rally.

Photojournalist Nasser Shtayya told Ma'an that members of the security forces attacked him, and his colleague Samir Khweira, while they were covering the rally, staged in front of the Nablus police department. Shtayya's camera was destroyed in the process.

Eyewitnesses stated that Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Ahmad Al-Haj delivered a speech in which he heavily criticised the Palestinian Authority. This incited his audience, who demanded he apologise for his words.

In order to control the situation, Palestinian security services decided to intervene and disperse the angry crowd. Three Hamas loyalists, Mu'ath Sarkaji, Imad Tanbour and Rami Nasser who were near the rally, were arrested.

Members of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades from the nearby Balata refugee camp protected the PLC member, who is connected to Hamas.
Notice how the neat divisions between Fatah and Hamas that the MSM want everyone to believe breaks down with only a little research: The pro-Hamas PLC gets protected by the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa. At a Hamas rally in the West Bank.

More context from PCHR, including that the speaker was also arrested. Which is directly related to Natan Sharansky's definition of a fear society vs. a free society:
If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a "fear society" has finally won their freedom.