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October 1998 
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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 Saturday morning.

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 Newsweek.

``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 accord.

The brigades are outlawed by the Palestinian Authority butHamas itself is a legal political organisation.

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.''


 

 

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