Hamas keeps barring West Bank dailies after Israel allows entrance

18:16, July 09, 2010      

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The deposed government of Hamas movement still bars the circulation of the three major West Bank-based Palestinian dailies in the Gaza Strip for the third day after Israel allowed their entrance into the costal enclave on Wednesday, the dailies' circulation agents said Friday.

Shukri Shublaq, one of the circulation agents in the Gaza Strip, told Xinhua that officers from the Hamas interior security apparatus barred the agents from receiving the three major newspapers, al-Quds, al-Ayyam and al-Hayyat al-Jadida., which Israel allowed into the Gaza Strip three days ago.

Israel, which imposed a tight blockade on the enclave right after Hamas seized control of it in June 2007, has barred the three newspapers from entering into the enclave for 20 months. However, Israel decided to allow the dailies after it decided to relax the blockade two weeks ago.

The Israeli government decided to relax more than 50 percent of the blockade due to an increasing international pressure on the Jewish state, following its naval forces attack on May 31 on the Gaza aid flotilla, where nine Turks were killed and dozens injured.

"We were informed by the interior security officers that we should get an official permission from the (Hamas) ministry of information," said Shublaq, adding "we have been waiting for the third day at Erez crossing to receive the newspapers, but so far, there is no answer."

Hamas' decision not to allow the circulation of the three major dailies had outraged media and rights organizations, while Hamas government spokesman Taher Nouno said that barring the circulation of the three dailies was a reaction to barring the circulation of Hamas dailies in the West Bank."

"We back public freedoms, but not only in one area and ignore the other. We want the circulation of all newspapers in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," said Nouno. Barring the circulations of Hamas newspapers in the West Bank and Gaza is related to the internal rift between Hamas and Fatah party.

Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas controls the West Bank, while Hamas movement controls the Gaza Strip since 2007. Both groups failed to reconcile and keep their feuds which had affected the social and geographical textile of the Palestinian community in both territories.

In October, Egypt presented to the two rivals a drafted pact for reconciliation. Fatah party accepted it and signed on it, but Hamas refused to sign on it saying it has reservations that need to be considered before the implementation of any reconciliation agreement.

Meanwhile, Ghassan al-Khatib denied that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is barring the circulation of the pro- Hamas newspapers al-Resallah and Falastin in the West Bank, adding that the two newspapers haven't applied officially for permission from the PNA.

"The Palestinian Authority doesn't bar the circulation of any Palestinian newspaper that gets an official permission in any part of the Palestinian territories," al-Khatib told Xinhua.

A pro-Hamas court in Gaza had in February 2008 decided to bar the circulation of the pro-Fatah al-Ayyam daily after the daily was accused by the court for violating the law and slamming Hamas- lawmakers. In July, 2008, Hamas decided to bar the circulation of the three newspapers in the Gaza Strip.

Abdel Nasser al-Najjar, the editor in chief of al-Ayyam daily told Xinhua that Hamas authorities in Gaza has demanded from the circulation agents of the newspapers to sign on a document that they should refrain from criticizing Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Journalists Association condemned Hamas decision to bar the circulation of the three newspapers. It said in a press statement that barring the circulation of the newspapers "is widening the internal rift and destroys the social Palestinian textile."

It also called on both authorities in Gaza and the West Bank to exclude the circulation of the newspapers from their internal political disputes.

Source: Xinhua


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