Two female Palestinian journalists were beaten during protests in the West Bank in the past week. The two women, Lara Kan’an and Majdoleen Hassona, were assaulted by Palestinian Authority security officers while covering Palestinian demonstrations calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to lift the economic sanctions he imposed last year on the Gaza Strip.
The physical assaults on Kan’an and Hassona are seen by Palestinians as part of the Palestinian Authority’s continued effort to silence critics and intimidate journalists who fail to “toe the line.” The beatings, which took place separately in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Tulkarem, mark a new high in the Palestinian leadership’s crackdown on public freedoms: assaulting an Arab woman on the street is considered a humiliation of the highest order to her and her clan.
While such assaults spark protests among Palestinians, the international community and Western correspondents covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continue to play their game of “See No Evil.” When the perpetrators are Palestinians, they can get away with — literally, murder — from the perspective of International human rights organizations and groups ostensibly concerned about freedom of the media. What would have been the response on the part of the international community and press, one wonders, had the two Palestinian women even been roughed up by Israeli soldiers.