Palestinian Television Studio Attacked in Gaza, Causing Major Damage

On Monday afternoon, scores of Hamas supporters and members, some of them armed, attacked the offices of Palestine TV in the Ma’an area, east of Khan Yunis. The attack took place during the burial of Atteya and Reem El-Ghalban, who had been killed by gunfire in Khan Yunis a day earlier. Extensive damage was caused to the studio and equipment.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 14:00 on Monday, 5 June 2006, scores of Hamas members and supporters attacked the studio of Palestine TV in the Ma’an area. Some of the gunmen fired shots at the building. At the time of the attack, journalist Bassam Mustafa Abdallah (a cameraman), the station director and four guards were inside. The attackers asked the staff to get out and then proceeded to storm the studio and destroy the equipment inside. The equipment included transmission equipment, cameras, television sets, electricity generators, and communication equipment used by the guards. Shots were fired at the equipment, causing extensive damage.

PCHR strongly condemns this attack, which constitutes an attack on the right to freedom of expression. The Centre views with great concern the increasing number of attacks on public institutions, which are part of the ongoing security chaos plaguing the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Centre calls upon the Palestinian National Authority, represented by the Attorney-General, to investigate these attacks and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.