PA shutters paper that criticized its Israel ties and accused it of torture

(JTA) – The Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank shuttered the local office of a pan-Arab newspaper over its reporting on Palestinian security co-ordination with Israel.

As Palestinian-Israeli street violence surged last month, Al Araby Al-Jadeed daily accused the administration of jailing “dozens of (Palestinian) political prisoners on charges of resisting (the Israeli) occupation,” Reuters on Friday reported.

The newspaper, which publishes a broadsheet in London, Beirut and Doha, also accused the PA of torturing prisoners in Palestinian jails. The paper branded the closure on Tuesday as politically motivated.

Such domestic scrutiny is touchy for Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, whose forces have helped Israel curb violence in the West Bank while he publicly condemns Israeli crackdowns and alleged policies at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian administration closed Al Araby Al-Jadeed’s Ramallah bureau on Tuesday “as it lacked a licence to operate,” Deputy Information Minister Mahmoud Khalifa told Reuters. He did not elaborate.

An Oct. 20 letter from the Information Ministry to the attorney general, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, said the newspaper had published a report that was “offensive to the State of Palestine and its security services.”

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