Israel revokes Al-Jazeera reporter’s press permit

Employees are seen at work in Al-Jazeera news network offices in Jerusalem on Aug. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean, file)
Updated 17 August 2017

Israel revokes Al-Jazeera reporter’s press permit

JERUSALEM: Israel’s press office said it was revoking the credentials of a prominent Al Jazeera reporter pending a hearing after he told another TV station that the work of Palestinian journalists is part of the “resistance.”
The Government Press Office said the remarks made by Elias Karram raise concerns about his ability to objectively cover the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Karram is an Arab citizen of Israel from Nazareth who has been reporting on Israel for Al-Jazeera for many years.
Nitzan Chen, the head of the press office, said the press card is revoked pending a hearing to clarify “whether or not he is part of the Palestinian people’s resistance to the Zionist occupation, as he stated in the interview, and if so, how this affects his work as a journalist according to universal ethics.”
Israel’s communications minister said earlier this month he plans to revoke the press credentials of all Al-Jazeera journalists, effectively preventing them from working in Israel, and is seeking legislation to ban them altogether.
He said the network incites violence, and pointed to recent efforts by several Arab states to ban the channel as part of their dispute with Qatar, the country that hosts and funds the pan-Arab satellite network.
The press office statement referred to a 2016 interview Karram gave to a Dar Al-Iman, a channel operated by Muslim Brotherhood.
“The work of a Palestinian journalist in occupied territories, in territories of conflict, is inseparable from the work of the resistance, the work of the politician, the work of the scholar,” Karram said.
“The journalist fulfils his role in the resistance with a pen or a microphone or a camera. You are part of the people and you resist in your own way,” he said.
Palestinians use the word resistance to refer to both violence against Israelis and non-violent opposition to Israeli policies.
Al-Jazeera had no immediate comment on the matter.
Karram could not immediately be reached for comment.
Chen said credentialed journalists are expected to follow “rules of ethics and universal fairness regarding news reporting.”
He said: “Whoever takes an active part in a political struggle should do so in the framework of the law, but without press credentials from the state of Israel.”
The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories for international news organizations, said it is studying the decision and had no immediate comment.
American viewers became familiar with Al Jazeera after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when its logo became synonymous with video messages by Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
That sparked frequent complaints by then-President George W. Bush’s administration. The station defended its policy, saying the messages were newsworthy.


New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

Updated 08 July 2020

New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

  • Regulation of electricity sector a key condition of international bailout for collapsing economy

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s government finally appointed a new board of directors on Tuesday to control the state-owned electricity company.
Electricite du Liban (EDL) has long been mired in allegations of corruption and fraud. Its annual losses of up to $2 billion a year are the biggest single drain on state finances as Lebanon faces economic collapse and the plunging value of its currency.
Reform of the electricity sector has been a key demand of the International Monetary Fund and potential donor states before they will consider a financial bailout.
“Lebanon’s electricity policy has been inefficient and ineffective for decades — always on the brink of collapse, but staying afloat with last minute patchwork solutions,” said Kareem Chehayeb of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC.
“The economic crisis has made fuel imports more expensive, causing a shortage, with external generator providers hiking their prices or seeking business in Syria. It is a wake-up call to decades of overspending and poor planning of a basic public service.”
The World Bank has described the electricity sector in Lebanon as “tainted with corruption and waste,” and the IMF said “canceling the subsidy to electricity is the most important potential saving in spending.”
Electricity rationing was applied for the first time to hospitals and the law courts, but Minister of Energy Raymond Ghajar said: “The first vessel loaded with diesel for power plants has arrived, and as of Wednesday the power supply will improve.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised the Lebanese people on Tuesday that they would see the results of government efforts to resolve the country’s financial chaos “in the coming weeks.”
Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Diab said: “The glimmer of hope is growing.” However, the appointment of an  EDF board of directors was criticized by opposition politicians. Former prime minister Najib Mikati said the appointments meant “the crime of wrong prevailing over right … is being repeated.”