On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority acknowledged that it had thrown Israeli journalists out of Bethlehem so they could not cover Christmas celebrations. The decision was made at the behest of Palestinian journalists, who demanded that Israeli journalists be expelled from Manger square in Bethlehem, according to the PA Ministry of information. The Ministry stated that the Israeli journalists worked for Haaretz, i-24 News, Channel 1 and Arutz Sheva.
Palestinian journalists were delighted with the PA police expelling the journalists; Omar Nazzal, a senior representative of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, told Wattan TV, which comes from Ramallah, that the expulsion was payback for “restrictions” Israel has imposed on Palestinian journalists.
The expulsion follows a campaign earlier this year by the Palestinian journalists to ban Israeli journalists from PA-occupied territories. Several Israeli journalists who were reporting on Palestinian affairs have been threatened by Palestinian journalists; one incident saw Palestinians assaulting an Israeli TV crew in Ramallah.
The Palestinian journalists defend their exclusion of Israeli journalists by claiming the action helps in “isolating the Israeli media, which is contributing to misinformation and relaying a false and harmful image of the Palestinian reality.”
PA Deputy Minister of Information Mahmoud Khalifa bloviated, “Israel does not honor international laws and conventions calling for the protection of journalists. Israeli reporters have become accustomed to entering the State of Palestine without permission.