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Hamas, Palestinian Authority Target Journalists

Hamas press conference (Photo: [email protected])

With Palestinian elections coming up, both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are cracking down on what journalists publish, forcing lies to be written to sway voters. Gatestone Institute's Khaled Abu Toameh questions why the international media is not paying attention to this, and says that human rights groups ignore these abuses, as they are instead obsessed with condemning Israel:

Palestinian journalists are at the top of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas hit-list in the crackdown occurring alongside preparations for the Palestinian local and municipal elections, scheduled for October 8.

The crackdown is part of an ongoing campaign by the two rival parties to silence critics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Neither Hamas nor the PA tolerates a free and independent media -- especially on the eve of a crucial election that could have far-reaching political implications in the Palestinian arena.

A Hamas victory in the upcoming elections would be catastrophic for President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority. Such an electoral outcome would be tantamount to a vote of no-confidence in their policies and performance.

Hamas, for its part, is investing a huge amount of resources in the election campaign, in hopes that the results would further boost its standing among Palestinians. Hamas fears that a defeat would undermine its power in the Gaza Strip and pave the way for its collapse.

As the election campaign heats up, it is clear that Hamas and the PA agree on one thing: intensifying their repressive measures against Palestinian journalists.

This media crackdown is essentially ignored by international human rights organizations. Why? One reason is that when Israel is not involved, assaults on freedom of the media and expression do not interest them...

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