Nor in Gaza either…
Palestinians: No Freedom of Expression Under New Government
by Khaled Abu Toameh • May 15, 2019 at 5:00 am
- As far as many Palestinians are concerned, there is no difference between Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and Hamas when it comes to their people being able to tell the truth as they see it.
- The two rival parties may disagree on many matters, but they share considerable common ground in their efforts to silence their critics and prevent the emergence of new voices seeking a better life for the Palestinians.
- While this muzzling of Palestinian mouths is perfectly visible to the naked eye, the jaundiced eye of the international community and media sees flaws only in Israel.
The first promise the new Palestinian Authority (PA) government made after it was sworn in last month was that it would honor public freedoms, particularly freedom of the media and freedom of expression.
Ibrahim Milhem, the new spokesman for the PA government, headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, said in a radio interview that no Palestinian journalist would be arrested for expressing his or her views. Milhem promised that his government would allow the press to play its role as a watchdog over the performance of the ministers and their ministries.
Palestinian journalists living and working in PA-controlled territories in the West Bank welcomed Milhem’s statement and expressed hope that it would mark the beginning of a new era between the media and the government.
For the Palestinian journalists, the promise indicated a refreshing change of direction, particularly after years of PA crackdowns on freedom of the media in the West Bank.