PCHR strongly condemns the attack on the office of the Al-Arabia satellite news channel on Monday evening as unknown persons detonated an explosive device at the door of the office, causing severe damage. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to investigate this crime, which constitutes a serious assault on the freedom of expression. This crime is part of a series of systematic crimes and assaults on the rule of law to create a state of lawlessness and undermine stability in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 21:20 on Monday, 22 January 2007, unknown persons detonated an explosive device in front of the office of the Al-Arabia satellite news channel on the 12th floor of the Al-Shorouq tower building in Al-Remal neighborhood in the center of Gaza City. The explosion caused severe damage to the office and the door of a neighboring office of Reuters news agency. No casualties were reported.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is clear that the attackers exploited the atmosphere that followed the Palestinian government’s declaration that it would sue the news channel for a report it had broadcasted, which the government considered as a kind of defamation against the Prime Minister.
Seif Al-Din Shahin, Correspondent of the Al-Arabia, told PCHR that the office of Al-Arabia and its employees repeatedly received threats last week from unknown numbers on their mobile phones.
PCHR strongly condemns this crime, and:
1) Expresses utmost concern over repeated attacks on journalists and media institutions, which have increased recently.
2) Stresses that such attacks constitute a serious assault on the freedom of expression and the right to receive and impart information, and are likely to undermine the “Fourth Authority.”
3) Believes that this attack is an integral part of the state of lawlessness prevailing in the OPT and constitute an assault on the rule of law.
4) Calls upon the PNA, represented by the Attorney-General, to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to justice.
5) Calls upon the PNA to take effective steps to confront assaults on the rule of law, end the state of lawlessness and allow law enforcement bodies to assume their duties to protect the security and property of people.