The Palestinian Journalist Syndicate (PJS), on Wednesday, slammed Israel’s arrest of Ala’a al-Titi. Meanwhile, Facebook has removed the page of a Hamas-affiliated news agency.A protest in solidarity with al-Titi was held in front of Ofer prison, in Israel, according to WAFA correspondence. Secretary General of PJS, Abdul Nasser al-Najjar, condemned the detention of al-Titi almost a month ago, expressing total rejection to the policy of arresting journalists on grounds of their work.
He stressed that Palestinian satellite channels work in line with regulations and laws, and that reporters have a right to practice their job inside the Palestinian territories.
Al-Titi was arrested three times, including the current arrest, under grounds of working for what the Israeli authorities described as a ‘terrorist satellite channel’ (Al Aqsa).
He was arrested on January 21, after Israeli forces brutally raided his home in Aroub refugee camp, to the north of Hebron, according to the Palestinian Information Center.
The center said that Titi’s arrest came only a week after his release from PA jails, where he was detained several times by PA security forces, in addition to spending four years behind Israeli bars.
The Palestinian Authority continues to work in close coordination with Israel, in regard to ‘security’ issues, despite PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ threats to dismantle the union.
Head of PJS called upon international and Arab journalist unions to dispatch a letter to the Israeli government, requesting the release of 15 Palestinian journalists currently being detained in Israeli jails.
To be noted, Around 17 journalists were killed and 30 others were wounded during the third Israeli offensive on Gaza in just seven years. Houses of other journalists were also demolished, displacing their families, while several media outlets were targeted and destroyed.
In a related vein, WAFA further reports that the online social networking website ‘Facebook’ has removed the page of the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency, after its followers had reached about 2.5 million users. Followers of the page have reported their inability to view its content.
Shehab is one of the widely spread social networking groups in the Palestinian territories, and reports daily on news related to the West Bank and Gaza.
Coverage of last summer’s assault on the Gaza Strip, by Shehab, was extensive. Numerous photos collected from the page during the offensive, among others, can be seen here. (Please note the following.)
Facebook administration cited ‘graphic violence’ as the reason behind deleting the page.
There have been several moves by Facebook against Palestinian-run pages, citing hate and violence pretexts, although Shehab is hardly central to the vicious political dialog found on many Facebook pages. In March of 2011, Facebook removed a group run by Palestinian activists calling for a third Palestinian uprising.
According to Israeli media, then Minister of Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, demanding that the page be shut down immediately. The page was later removed, after it had gathered over a million participants.
Up until then, the founders of the group, which was created in the heat of the widely publicized ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions, said that they got the idea for that page from these uprisings, which eventually toppled Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.