PRESS RELEASE

Israeli Occupation Forces Prevent Palestinian Journalists

from Carrying Out Their Work

Ref.,: 62/99

Date: 30th May, 1999

Israeli occupation forces continue violating important Palestinian rights, especially the right of free movement and the right to move among the areas of jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). On May 30, 1999, the occupation forces prevented some Gazan journalists from traveling to the West Bank to cover a national conference against settlements being held in the Casablanca Hotel in Ramallah.

On May 26, the Palestinian Minister of Information supplied a list of journalists to the Civil Joint Committee in order to secure the necessary permits. As usual, the Israeli authority at Erez cited security concerns in preventing some of the journalists from receiving permits.

Those prevented from traveling were:

1. Hassan Jabber Al-Ayyam Newspaper, Gaza

2. Muhammad Taher El-Nounou Sharuq Magazine and Gulf Newspaper, UAE

3. Fathi Sabah Al-Haya, London

4. Abdel Gani Al-Shami Al-Quds Press, Gaza

5. Fayyed Abu Shamala BBC, Gaza

6. Khalid Abu Zaher Al-Ayyam Newspaper, Gaza

7. Azmi Al-Kishawi French Television, Channel One

The Israeli occupation forces’ violations of the right to free movement for Palestinians for purposes of work, religious visits, or family visits is not only a basic human rights violation but represents a complete rupture of the regional unity between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is an organized policy to split the Palestinian homeland and stands in direct violation of the Oslo Accords which state that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are to be viewed as “a single territorial unit, the integrity and status of which will be preserved during the interim period.”

This Israeli action is a significant violation of the rights of the press. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this policy regarding Palestinian journalists and asks the international community to oblige the Israeli government to respect human rights standards, uphold the rule of international law, and protect civilians in the Occupied Territories. At the same time, PCHR asks international organizations to support Palestinian journalists to ensure that they can do their work freely.