The following is a prepared statement from Ma’an News network regarding the detention and immanent deportation of the chief editor of their news desk, Jared Malsin.The English Desk at Ma’an News Agency, the largest independent news network in the Palestinian territories, is deeply concerned that its chief editor, Jared Malsin, an American citizen, was detained on Tuesday afternoon upon arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv. He is slated for imminent deportation.
In what can only be explained as a retaliatory measure for Malsin’s reporting on Palestine, his long-term girlfriend, Faith Rowold, a two-year, registered volunteer with the Lutheran Church in Jerusalem, was also seized and placed in a holding cell pending deportation. Israeli security agents have prevented the couple from making calls, and lied to concerned American consular staff, denying that the two were even being held.
While the US Embassy is protesting both incidents, and is in constant contact with our staff on the ground, diplomatic officials say that there is little they can do when Israel cites ‘security reasons’ for the denial of entry. Meanwhile, Israeli security officials have quietly expressed concern to Ma’an over this latest abuse of power by authorities at the Interior Ministry, skeptical that the professional journalist they know could be deemed a threat.
For its part, Israel has yet to specify any allegations against Malsin, who indicated – just before his phone was seized by airport guards – that during his hours of interrogation, security agents inexplicably questioned him over his supposed ties to international peace activists, with whom he has no relationship.
Ma’an scrupulously maintains its editorial independence and aims to promote access to information, freedom of expression, press freedom, and media pluralism in Palestine. It has no other agenda. Israel’s arbitrary detention of the head of its English Desk is an affront to professional journalists not only in Palestine, but also to journalists in Israel and abroad, who rely on Ma’an for its accuracy, impartiality, and independence.
For more information, including a detailed timeline of the past 24 hours’ events, please visit: