by Khaled Abu Toameh • June 10, 2016
Palestinian journalists are spearheading a campaign against Israeli reporters. They have been taught that any journalist daring to criticize the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Hamas is a "traitor." They expect Israeli and Western journalists to report bad things only about Israel.
"It is very sad when you see that your colleagues on the other side are inciting against you and doing their best to prevent you from carrying out your work. This is harmful to the Palestinians themselves because they will no longer be able to relay their opinions to the Israeli public." — Israeli reporter who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly a decade.
For Palestinian journalists, to be seen in public with an Israeli colleague is treasonous.
Many Western journalists turn a blind eye to assaults on freedom of the media under the PA and Hamas. They know they will be unwelcome in these places if they write any story that reflects negatively on Palestinians. Besides, the campaign against Israeli journalists is being waged by Palestinians, and not Israelis. To them, this fact alone makes it a story not worth reporting.
Nearly every Israeli media outlet has a journalist whose task is to report on what is happening on the Palestinian side. Until recently, these journalists would travel to Ramallah and other Palestinian cities in the West Bank to interview ordinary Palestinians, representatives of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and various Palestinian factions.
Things have changed. It is hard now to spot an Israeli journalist in the field. And it is equally difficult to find a PA official willing to talk to an Israeli journalist. Every now and then, President Mahmoud Abbas does invite Israeli journalists for a briefing -- hand-picked journalists, that is.
As well, a handful of veteran Fatah officials such as Jibril Rajoub and Kadoura Fares, who are both fluent in Hebrew, grant interviews to select Israeli radio and TV stations. Like Abbas, they do so when, and only when, they have an interest in relaying a message to the Israeli public.