Journalists have been paying dearly in the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian Territories since Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007. The media are sharply divided between those linked to the Palestinian Authority and those in Hamas-ruled Gaza. Arresting journalists has become a way to settle scores. Nobody is spared and the lack of agreement between the two movements on holding parliamentary and presidential elections has aggravated the situation.
In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority's security forces and intelligence service controlled by President Mahmoud Abbas made many arbitrary arrests of pro-Hamas journalists, including about 30 in 2011 working mainly for media outlets affiliated to Hamas who were questioned about their work, their sources of funding and their links with officials of the Hamas government.
In late March, a court in Ramallah extended by 15 days the detention of the journalist Youssef Shayeb, who was arrested on 26 March after libel suits were lodged against him by several people including the head of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in France, Hael al-Fahoum, and the Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad al-Malki.
The journalist wrote anarticle published in the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad in January about irregularities within the diplomatic mission in France. He was released on bail on 2 April after going on hunger strike.
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