Monday, August 13, 2007

Freedom of the Press, PalArab-style (VIII) (UPDATED)

The series continues....
Hamas' Executive Force on Monday banned any form of demonstration in Gaza unless its organisers obtain permission.

Spokesperson of the EF, Saber Khalifeh, issued a statement announcing that "for the sake of the general benefit and to secure the rule of law, it is totally forbidden to demonstrate without getting permission from the Executive Force."

The Palestinian factions called a rally on Monday in protest against EF actions in the Gaza Strip.

Eyewitnesses at the rally of Palestinian factions said the Executive Force banned journalists from covering the events.

A journalist who attempted to film the demonstration on his mobile phone was arrested.

Of course, Hamas' many repressive actions don't stop idiots in Britain from trying to increase ties with the terror group:
"The government should urgently consider ways of engaging politically with moderate elements within Hamas," the all-party group of lawmakers said.
UPDATE: PCHR adds lots of details of this morning's moderate Hamas activities:
The Center’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 11:00 on Monday, 13 August 2007, tens of members of the Executive Force deployed around the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Palestinian Legislative Council building. They prevented dozens of civilians from reaching the area to attend a rally organized by several PLO factions to protest the attacks of the Executive Force in the Gaza Strip. In addition, the Force prevented journalists from covering the rally, and confiscated the camera of Ahmad El-Ras, cameraman for Ramattan News Agency, and detained him in one of their vehicles. The Force members used sticks to disperse the demonstrators.

Ahmad El-Ras gave the following statement to PCHR’s fieldworker:

“At approximately 10:30, two colleagues and I went to cover the rally in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier area. When I disembarked from the agency vehicle carrying a camera, 2 members of the Executive Force raised their weapons at me; and one of them said to me, “If you take photage, we’ll put an end to you.” I answered them that I have not taken any photage; and I went back to the car to leave the area. Then, two Executive Force vehicles intercepted us. Force members took me and put me in one of their vehicles. They confiscated my camera. Several journalists gathered around the vehicle in which I was detained. They talked to the Force members. The latter stated that they would release me only if the camera tape is confiscated. And this happened.”

At approximately 11:35, two Executive Force gunmen raided the offices of Al-Arabiya and MBC satellite stations in the 12th floor of Al-Shoroq building in Gaza City. They confiscated the camera and rally photage belonging to Al-Arabiya. Reem Abd El-Karim, the director of the offices, informed PCHR’s fieldworker that the Executive Force gunmen raided the office and requested the rally photage. A verbal exchange took place when she refused to hand over the materials. However, the Executive Force took the camera and photage by force. The Executive Force returned the confiscated equipment to Al-Arabiya at approximately 15:30.