Dear Honest Reporting Member,
Or so we thought.
Palestinians in Beirut, Nablus and eastern Jerusalem rejoiced, danced and handed out candies.
But that’s only part of the story.
Palestinian groups, including the Arafat-backed Tanzim and the Palestinian police, then used intimidation and violence to prevent journalists from distributing the photos and videos of these celebrations.
One cameraman, on assignment for Associated Press Television News, was kidnapped and threatened with death if his footage was aired. Ahmed Abdel Rahman, Arafat’s Cabinet secretary, said the Palestinian Authority “cannot guarantee the life” of the cameraman if the footage was broadcast.
The Jerusalem Post also reports that armed Palestinians trapped foreign photojournalists inside a Nablus hotel on September 11 while thousands took to the streets in celebration of the U.S. terror attacks. The journalists were reportedly forced to remain confined in the hotel, guarded by armed Palestinians — both in uniform and wearing civilian clothes — while the festivities continued in the streets.
According to Israeli Radio correspondent Danny Zaken, at least two news organizations had footage of the celebrations in Nablus and Ramallah that showed Palestinian policemen shooting joyfully in the air. Zaken reported that the news agencies refused to broadcast the material after senior officials in the Palestinian Authority contacted the heads of the news organizations, threatening the lives of news personnel and warning an end of access to PA sources if they broadcast the reports.
Obviously, since these images portray Palestinian affinity with the fervently anti-American tactics of the WTC terrorists, they greatly damage the Palestinian cause in the eyes of the world.
Asked for his reaction to the pictures of celebrating Palestinians, Secretary of State Colin Powell told Fox News, “It is a searing image in my mind.”
A strong statement was issued by the Foreign Press Association (FPA), which represents hundreds of mainstream journalists in Israel. The head of the FPA, Dan Perry, who is also the bureau chief of the Associated Press in Israel, issued this statement:
“The FPA expresses deep concern over the harassment of journalists by the Palestinian Authority as police forces and armed gunmen tried to prevent photo and video coverage of Tuesday’s rally in Nablus where hundreds of Palestinians celebrated the terror attacks in N.Y. and Washington. We strongly condemn the direct threats made against local videographers by local militia members and the attitude of Palestinian officials who made no effort to counter the threats, control the situation, or to guarantee the safety of the journalists and the freedom of the press.
“We call on the PA to ensure freedom of the press and the free flow of information and to prevent elements operating within PA jurisdiction from making or carrying out threats that aim to impede this and effectively impose censorship. We hold the PA fully responsible for the safety of each and every journalist operating within their areas, especially those who were filming and covering Tuesday’s events in Nablus.”
Did your TV station and newspaper show the despicable scenes of Palestinian celebration? Or did they succumb to intimidation?
We encourage you to contact local editors and producers, and demand that they show the videos and publish the photographs.
A full list of U.S. newspapers is online click here.
A list of major media contacts is online at:
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.
========== SAMPLE LETTER ============
To the Editor:
I am sickened to hear that Palestinian officials are using violence and intimidation to suppress the distribution of photos and videos depicting Palestinians celebrating the American tragedy.
I urge you to publish these images. Anything less will be succumbing to the forces which oppose our beloved freedom of the press.
Beyond this, I urge you to report the story of how senior officials in the Palestinian Authority have contacted the heads of news organizations, and threatened the lives of news personnel who distribute these damning images. Ahmed Abdel Rahman, Arafat’s Cabinet secretary, said the Palestinian Authority “cannot guarantee the life” of the Associated Press cameraman who shot footage of the celebrations. (Associated Press, Sept. 13)
I also urge you to report how armed Palestinians trapped foreign photojournalists inside a Nablus hotel, to prevent them from capturing images of the celebrations. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 12)
I also urge you to expose the ongoing anti-American ideology which prevails in the Palestinian-ruled territories. Days prior to the terrorist act, the Palestinian daily, “Al-Ayyam” declared that the Palestinian Authority has stepped up depictions of President Bush as a murderer, accompanied by increasing publicity for calls to attack the U.S. The paper encouraged Palestinians to “harm American interests in the Arab world, with all possible means, in all places, at all levels, because the United States does not understand the language of logic and wisdom, but only the language of interests and force.” (“Al-Ayyam” – Aug. 30, 2001)
Your standing strong against this intimidation will send a message to all dictatorial thugs that, despite violence and intimidation, freedom of the press will prevail.
SEE THE CELEBRATIONS ONLINE
Visit the following links for more documentation of Palestinian celebrations.
(Since many URL’s do not fit onto one line of this e-mail, you will need to paste the parts into your browser, and remove any spaces that appear in the URL.)
Chicago Tribune -http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2001/09/11/west_bank/index.html
Yahoo’s photo gallery -
Even the Guardian (UK), the stalwart supporter of all things Palestinian, led its article (“Palestinian Joy — Global Condemnation”) with this:
“Palestinian gunmen at refugee camps in Lebanon fired into the air in celebration yesterday as the rest of the world united in revulsion at the ‘monstrous’ and ‘abhorrent’ attacks in the US. In East Jerusalem, people distributed sweets wrapped in the colours of the Palestinian tricolour and sounded car horns.”
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