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The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) on Monday condemned a visit to Israel by Arab journalists and called for holding them to account.
Six journalists from Iraq and Saudi Arabia arrived on Sunday via the Allenby Bridge for meetings in Israel. They are expected to tour Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nazareth, and meet with Knesset members, Foreign Ministry officials and academics.
The Fatah-dominated syndicate denounced the visit as a blow to its “anti-normalization position.” It said the visit was also a “blessing to the occupation, which continues to shed the blood of Palestinian journalists.”
It called on the Federation of Arab Journalists and other media groups in the Arab world to “blacklist” Arab journalists who visit Israel and promote normalization with it.
The PJS claimed that the Foreign Ministry’s efforts to bring Arab journalists to Israel was a “desperate attempt to undermine the syndicate’s national position and contradicts resolutions of the Federation of Arab Journalists.”
According to the Palestinian journalists’ group, the visit by the Arab journalists to Israel “is part of a political effort in the context of Zionist-American schemes to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”
The PJS claimed that the visit came after the “failure of US efforts to penetrate the ranks of Palestinian journalists.” It was referring to its recent call for boycotting the US administration.
Earlier this month, the PJS called on Palestinian journalists to turn down any invitation from the US administration to visit the White House. The appeal came in response to remarks by US presidential envoy Jason Greenblatt, who was quoted as saying the White House seeks to speak to “ordinary Palestinians about its upcoming Middle East plan, also known as the “Deal of the Century.”
Greenblatt told the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper Al-Ayyam that “One idea would be potentially inviting Palestinian journalists to the White House, or maybe somewhere neutral, and have our team make presentations directly to the Palestinian media what the plan is all about.”
In response, the PJS warned Palestinian journalists against “going along with such dubious invitations” and said it is “unacceptable and it does not make sense to have a dialogue with an administration that is inaugurating tunnels and settlements in our land and targeting our Christian and Islamic holy sites.”
The PJS statement was referring to the participation of US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Greenblatt in last month’s inauguration of the “Pilgrimage Road” in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
Another Gaza-based Palestinian media group, the Palestinian Democratic Journalists Forum, also condemned the “normalization visit” to Israel by the Arab journalists. The group claimed that the visit was in the context of the “Deal of the Century” and other “dubious schemes.” The visit, it added, was in violation of the decisions of the Federation of Arab Journalists, which criminalized all forms of normalization with the occupation.”
The PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) accused the Arab journalists visiting Israel of “promoting the Zionist narrative and normalization.” The PFLP called on Arab media groups to “blacklist” the journalists and reaffirm their opposition to all forms of normalization with Israel.