T H E N E W " P E A C E " B E G I N S
Journalists now require Arafat and CIA "Permission"
PALESTINIAN POLICE DETAIN JOURNALISTS IN GAZA FILM AND TAPES CONFISCATED
GAZA, Oct 24 (Reuters) -
Palestinian police detained 11journalists in Gaza on Friday, including a U.S. citizen,
andconfiscated film and taped interviews with the founder of themilitant Islamic movement
Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
The group, which included journalists working for Reuters,Agence France-Presse and
Associated Press news agencies,said police detained them as they left Yassin's home in
Gazaand then held them for two hours at a police station.
They said police had confiscated video and audio cassettesand photographic film and
told them that in future they wouldneed police permission to film or interview political
figures. Palestinians among the group said they had been told toreport back to police on
The action coincided with the signing by Palestinian PresidentYasser Arafat and Israeli
Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu in Washington of a new interim peace dealhammered out at
a nine-day U.S.-mediated summit.
The deal requires Arafat's Palestinian Authority to crackdown on Hamas and other
militant groups that engage inviolence against Israelis in exchange for an Israeli
handoverof 13 percent more of the West Bank to Palestinian self-rule. ``We went to Sheikh
Yassin's house to photograph himwatching the television with the signing taking place,''
saidHeidi Levine, an American photographer who was onassignment for the U.S. magazine
``We realised when we left the house that there werePalestinian police. A plainclothes
policeman jumped in ourcar and took us to a police station,'' Levine told Reuters.
She said the group was given coffee and was well treated. A Palestinian Authority
official said statements by Yassin, thefounder and spiritual leader of Hamas, went
againstPalestinian policy and ran contrary to the summit deal.
``The statements of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin are against thisagreement,'' the official said.
Hamas's armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades,has carried out most of the
suicide bombings that have killedscores of Israelis since the 1993 Oslo interim peace
The brigades are outlawed by the Palestinian Authority butHamas itself is a legal
Yassin said earlier on Friday that stronger Israeli-Palestiniansecurity cooperation
stemming from Friday's accord couldlimit its attacks against Israel but would not stop
them. Hecalled the deal ``worthless.''