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November 21, 2011

Press TV's Man in Jerusalem

At the LA Times blog World Now, Batsheva Sobelman writes about east Jerusalem Arab Ibrahim Husseini, a reporter for Iran's Press TV. The post begins:

Is he a journalist providing Iranians with news, or an agent transmitting information to the enemy?

Regarding the former option (and we have no information about the latter), an example of Husseini's work that appears on the blog post makes clear that his definition of "news" is rather flexible. (Let's not forget, it's Ahmadinejad's Press TV he works for, a network whose slant the Los Angeles Times once described.)

Sobelman provides no comment about the accuracy, or lack thereof, of Husseini's Aug. 5 broadcast about Palestinians visiting the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Ramadan (available also directly from Press TV), and so we will.

The crux of Husseini's broadcast is that Palestinians have no access to the Al Aqsa mosque the entire year, except for during Ramadan. He reports:

But the holy month also brings a rare chance for Muslims to visit Jerusalem Al Quds a city that they have no access to for the rest of the year.

But are Palestinians completely cut off from Jerusalem except for Ramadan? Tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians, including 25,000 laborers, have permits to enter Israel, and may travel freely to Jerusalem throughout the year. (There are certain closure days, such as on Jewish holidays, or during periods of heightened tensions.)

Husseini quotes a Palestinian worshipper, who says:

Prior to the Israeli occupation we prayed at the Al Aqsa mosque on a regular basis with no barriers.

But for years after Israel gained control of Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank, Palestinians could travel freely to Israel, including Jerusalem. Israeli authorities started to introduce travel restrictions only in the late 1980s, at the beginning of the first intifada, as described at this pro-Palestinian Web site.

Posted by TS at November 21, 2011 07:42 AM


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