Palestinian information minister, Mustafa Barghouti, criticised Tuesday any harassment of journalists and others facilitating their duties in the Palestinian territories.

Barghouti’s statement came hours after five journalists were exposed to harassment by Palestinian police personnel in front of the Palestinian parliament building in Gaza.

The Palestinian minister voiced approval of all protests and demonstrations in support of Alan Jhonston, the BBC reporter who was abducted last month by unknown masked men in Gaza City. In a statement released by the information ministry, Barghouti affirmed that the ministry is discussing with all concerned bodies all possible means to secure the safe release of Johnston.

On another issue, the Palestinian minister warned of the continued international ecombargo being imposed on the Palestinians, saying that the only alternative to the current unity government is a total collapse of the Palestinian Authority.

Despite the fact that the Palestinians have recently established a unity government comprising the more moderate Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the international community refuses to deal with the Palestinian authority until the new cabinet ostensibly recognizes Israel, renounces violence and accepts past signed agreements.

Palestinian police forces attacked Tuesday protesters in Gaza, who were attempting to enter the Palestinian legislative council premises in protest against the Palestinian government's inability to reveal the truth behind the mysterious abduction of Johnston.

A previously unknown group, calling itself Tawhid and Jehad (Monotheism and Struggle), announced on the internet Sunday it had executed Johnston. Johnston’s abduction is the longest period of captivity endured by a foreign civilian in Gaza over the past three years, while no information has been revealed regarding his whereabouts or the identity of his captors.