Hamas cancels Arafat events, shuts down media
At approximately 19:00 on Tuesday, 10 November 2009, members of the [Hamas] police investigation bureau and the Internal Security Service, who were armed and wearing civilian clothes, broke into the offices of Ramattan News Agency in Shawa and Hussari Building in the center of Gaza City. They prevented a press conference organized by the National Action Commission in Gaza City to publicize the Gaza government’s cancellation of a ceremony that was supposed to be held in Rashad al-Shawa Center on Wednesday, 11 November 2009, in commemoration of the death of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. The security officers claimed that the conference was unlicensed. They also confiscated recording tapes belonging to Ramattan News Agency and al-Quds Television and ordered members of the National Action Commission to leave the offices.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, 12 November 2009, Ramattan News Agency announced the closure of all of its offices throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory pending a further notice. The news agency stated that “this step came following accumulative factors relevant to violations of the law, freedom of expression and press, and harassments against Ramattan, which peaked with the illegal storming of its offices on Tuesday evening, 10 November 2009, by a unit of the Internal Security Services of the dismissed government in Gaza, and preventing the National Action Commission in Gaza from holding a press conference… Ramattan points out that what happened yesterday had been the first time for offices of Ramattan to be stormed (by force) by a security force since its establishment 10 years ago.”
Since Monday, 09 November 2009, security services in the Gaza Strip have sent summoning notices to scores of activists and leaders of Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip. The summoned persons were questioned about their preparations for the commemoration of the death of President Yasser Arafat, and were then released.
I’m sure that all those pro-Palestinian Arab European NGOs are working hard to convince Hamas to allow freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The press releases condemning Hamas are coming Real Soon Now.