Israel - Israeli authorities close Palestinian media centre in East Jerusalem

    MONTREAL, May 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns
yesterday morning's decision by the Israeli internal security ministry to shut
down the Palestinian media centre that had been set up in the East Jerusalem
district of Sheikh Jarah in advance of the Pope's visit.
    "We urge the Israeli authorities to rescind this decision, which
constitutes a violation of press freedom," Reporters Without Borders said.
    The media centre was a temporary one that had been installed in a
conference room of the Hotel Ambassador to provide documentation to local and
foreign journalists covering the Pope's visit to the Holy Land. It had begun
operating on 10 May with two news conferences in which political and religious
leaders criticised Israeli policies.
    The head of the media centre, Ahmad Ar-Ruweidi, said that although the
centre was temporary, its closure was "illegal" and represented an
"intensification of Israel's prohibition of Palestinian civil society." He
added that he was seeking legal advice.
    Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Jerusalem yesterday afternoon after visiting
Jordan. His first visit to the Holy Land is to last three days. Most of the
holy sites he is scheduled to visit are located in East Jerusalem, which
Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War and which it regards as its
"eternal" capital. Its formal annexation in 1981 is not recognised by the
international community.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111,

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