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Hamas bans activities of Saudi-owned TV channels in Gaza over false reports

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The logos of Saudi-owned news networks al-Hadath (L) and al-Arabiya (Photo via Twitter)

Hamas has suspended the activities of two Saudi-owned television news networks in the besieged Gaza Strip for acting like mouthpieces for the Israeli spy agencies. 

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it took the decision against al-Arabiya and its sister channel al-Hadath for airing false news and fabrications.

The order bars “anyone or any business from providing services” to either network.

The two news networks had earlier alleged that several Hamas members had been arrested for collaborating with the Israeli regime – a claim the movement has strongly dismissed.

Back on July 25, 2013, an office belonging to al-Arabiya channel was shut down by authorities in the Gaza Strip for reporting “false” information regarding the Hamas leadership.

Hamas authorities said at the time they were going to close the office and bar all its employees from entering the building, which was located in the al-Ramal neighborhood in the center of Gaza.

“The Attorney General decided to close down al-Arabiya... in Gaza for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what's happening in Egypt,” a Hamas official told AFP then.

Al-Arabiya and al-Hadath, however, continued their operations there through freelance reporters.

The Palestinian Journalists’ Bloc in Gaza on Thursday condemned the two networks as well as Arabic-language Amad news website for waging a smear campaign against resistance groups in the Gaza Strip.

The bloc said the political orientations of al-Arabiya and al-Hadath channels “are completely detached from the common belief in the Arab world, which views the Palestinian resistance front in the Gaza Strip as a beacon in the face of the Occupation (Israel), and that it is not tainted by surrounding circumstances.”

“Hassan Asfour [editor-in-chief of Amad news website] has established himself as a person conspiring against the Palestinian cause and our nation for more than 30 years. He was one of the Palestinian officials involved in the disastrous Oslo agreement, and is seeking to serve the interests of his financiers and advance normalization with the Occupation,” it pointed out.

The bloc called on Palestinian journalists, writers and analysts to boycott al-Arabiya and al-Hadath channels beside Amad news website, and not to grant them interviews.

It also called on Palestinian and Arab media institutions to confront the systematic campaigns of misinformation against the Palestinian cause, nation and resistance front, emphasizing that such attempts are designed to liquidate the Palestinian cause and legitimize the existence of the Israeli regime.

Hamas earlier said in a statement that it “condemns the campaign of misinformation led by al-Arabiya with other media organizations, based on lies and slanders from the Zionist intelligence services, which aims to harm the Palestinian people and their confidence in the resistance and liberation project.”

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