The Corner

The Palestinian Authority’s Brutal Treatment of Journalists

The Good and the Great, with the president of the United States and the utopians of the European Union in the lead, work single-mindedly for the creation of a Palestinian state. It is axiomatic in these exalted circles that peace in the Middle East will come only when the Palestinians have this state. The sole impediment to this happy outcome is felt to be the intransigence of Israel, something which prompts demonstrations of high indignation in large and growing numbers of people in the West.

But what if that state were true to Arab political culture and was just another despotism? Bassam Tawil is one of a handful of courageous Palestinians already indicating this likely future. A journalist, he exposes the brutality and hypocrisy of the Palestinian Authority now in control of the West Bank. The PA accuses Israel of “assaults” and “crimes” against Palestinian journalists when it has closed a newspaper on the grounds that it gave “offense,” and has detained a female journalist, Naela Khalil. The newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadid (which translates as The New Arab — a misnomer if ever there was) published a report that Palestinians under PA detention have been severely tortured and ten have died in prison in the past few years. Tawil gives their names, and adds that no one from the European community takes the slightest notice of these and other outrages. The PA clearly want a media that reports only against Israel, and he reaches the conclusion, “Had Al-Araby Al-Jadid been shut by Israeli authorities, the story would probably have made it to the front pages of most newspapers in the U.S. and Europe.” His insight into the process of arousing misplaced indignation against Israel leads him to ask the necessary question of who is going to protect Palestinian journalists from the Palestinian Authority and its security forces.

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