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Hamas Censors Arab Media in Gaza, Closes PA Union HQ

Hamas forces in Gaza raided the offices of the Palestinian Journalists’ Union, effectively closing down the organization on Tuesday.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/13/2010, 2:58 PM / Last Update: 10/13/2010, 3:13 PM

Flash 90

Hamas forces in Gaza raided the offices of the Palestinian Journalists’ Union, effectively closing down the organization on Tuesday.

 “Hamas internal security forces raided the headquarters today, and one of the officers informed the members of the board who were there that it would be closed until further notice,” the head of the organization, Abdelnasser al-Najar told the AFP news agency.

The statement was issued from al-Najar’s office in  Ramallah, north of Jerusalem, where the Palestinian Authority is led by the secular Fatah faction, headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Al-Najar noted that some 25 media outlets had been shut down by Hamas since the terrorist entity had tightened its death grip on Gaza after routing Fatah from the region in a milita war between the two factions in June 2007.

“We urge Arab and foreign journalists and human rights activists to intervene with Hamas to stop its repeated crimes against the syndicate and its members in the Gaza Strip,” the union said in an official statement released Wednesday.

All PA factions participated in the elections that were held by the Palestinian Journalists’ Union nearly a year ago, said al-Najar – except Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Hamas did not respond to an AFP request for comment on the incident. According to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, the jounalists' union has been accused in recent months of taking a pro-Fatah stance “amid the ongoing state of political disunity” in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.