Israeli journo union asked to back IFJ and Palestinian union protest

Aidan White

The Israeli journalist union is being called on to support their counterparts in Palestine to protest to the Netanyahu government a ban on a visit to the region by a prominent Moroccan journalist union leader.

The International Federation of Journalists has asked its affiliate in Israel, the National Federation of Israeli Journalists, to assist.

The Israelis are being asked to issue an appeal to the Jerusalem authorities to allow Younes M’Jahed, the Senior Vice-President of the IFJ, and General Secretary of the Federation’s affiliate in Morocco, to be allowed to join an IFJ delegation about to visit Palestine and Israel.

Investigate problems facing Palestinian journalists at work

The IFJ delegation plans to travel to the Palestinian territories in the coming days to investigate the problems facing Palestinian journalists.

In the lead up to the proposed IFJ delegation visit the Palestinian news agency WAFA has released a report claiming that in the first 8 months of 2010 the Israeli military had injured 101 Palestinian journalists trying to do their jobs – and detained and arrested 52 journalists.

Call on Israeli PM to intervene and end ban on visit

The  application by the Moroccan union leader, Mr M’Jahed,  for permission to travel through the region has been turned down by Israeli authorities.

Already the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate has protested the Israeli decision to ban Mr M’Jahed.

The IFJ General Secretary, Aidan White, has backed the Palestinian union’s protest, and written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on him to intervene to allow Mr M’Jahed to travel.

“Even if this application was unavoidably late, it would be unreasonable of Israel not to allow an opportunity for dialogue and investigation of the conditions facing journalists in Palestine,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

Improve relations between all working journalists in the region

“Our aim is to improve relations between all journalists in the region and just as leaders are sitting down in Washington to break years of deadlock, we wish to seize an opportunity for a renewal of contacts in the world of journalism.”

White said he hoped that the authorities will urgently reconsider their decision and send a signal that they are ready to “open the door to dialogue”.

“The application was delayed, but that is no excuse,” said White. “This is the time for positive steps towards open and transparent discussions. We need to break down bureaucratic barriers.”