Just so we have this straight…
Israeli authorities bowed to international pressure to do the right thing and allow three Palestinian publications have access to the blockaded Gaza Strip. And now it is the Hamas government in Gaza that is preventing the publications from being distributed.
Three West Bank publications, Al-Hayat Aljadedeh, Al-Ayyam and Al-Quds, were barred from entry by the Israeli government since 2008. Last week, July 7, the government lifted that ban.
The Israeli occupation authorities allowed the three daily newspapers to enter the Gaza Strip as of the evening of 7 July 2010, after having banned them from entering the territory since late 2008.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms reports the authorities in Gaza are requiring the owners of the daily newspapers to sign a pledge to refrain from harshly criticizing the Hamas government. At the same time the Hamas government wanted guarantees from the publishers that two Hamas publications, Felesteen and Al-Risalah be allowed in the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority government of the West Bank has banned the two publications since mid-June 2007.
If the governments of the West Bank and Gaza Strip intend to live up to their statements of being democratically elected and of supporting democratic ideals, then they must lift the bans on publications and stop their efforts to control the media content allowed into their borders.
Somehow, I don’t think that will happen anytime soon. Especially in Gaza.
Israel finally did the right thing. It is, after all a democracy and the government eventually has to bend to the democratic wishes and aspirations of its people. It still has a long way to go with how it deals with journalists who may be critical of those laws. But it is far and away ahead of any other government in that area of the world.