government orders newspaper closed for two years
Courey Toensing" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 20:52:04
Subject: Israeli gov. shuts down newspaper that criticized occupation
Israel government orders newspaper closed for two years
Occupied Jerusalem: 22 December, 2002 (IAP News) The Israeli
interior minister on Sunday ordered an Israeli weekly newspaper closed for two
years for making harsh criticisms of the Israeli occupation and apartheid rule
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Israeli state-run radio said
Interior Minister Eli Yeshai decided to close down Sawt al Haq Walhurriya (Voice
of Truth and Freedom), a weekly newspaper, published by the Islamic movement in
Israel in the Arab Israeli town of Um El-Fahm.
The radio quoted
unidentified government sources as accusing the paper of supporting the
Palestinian struggle against the Israeli colonialist rule. The paper's editor
Tawfiq Eerer criticized the closure order, saying Israeli democracy was still
too fragile and undeveloped to tolerate dissenting voices.
"Israel is a
democracy. However, when it comes to non-Jews, democracy becomes spasmodic and
intolerant of dissenting views," Eerer said.
Israel routinely closes
down publications and electronic media in the Occupied Territories and arrests
Palestinian journalists for communicating to the outside world Israeli
repressive measures against Palestinians, thus making its claim of being the
"only democracy in the region" rather dubious.
In a recently published
first worldwide index of press freedom, Reporters Without Borders ranked Israel
92nd out of 139 countries surveyed. Neighboring Lebanon ranked 56th in the
In their report, the group stated: ...."in the West Bank and
Gaza, Reporters Without Borders has recorded a large number of violations of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees press
freedom and which Israel has signed. Since the start of the Israeli army's
incursions into Palestinian towns and cities in March 2002, very many
journalists have been roughed up, threatened, arrested, banned from moving
around, targeted by gunfire, wounded or injured, had their press cards withdrawn
or been deported."
The full report can be read online at: www.rsf.fr/article.php3?id_article=4116