At least 11 Palestinian news websites appear to have been blocked in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, following a directive by the Palestinian Authority’s public prosecutor, according to local sources.
All the targeted websites are based outside the West Bank, according to a source who spoke to Anadolu news agency on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
“We were informed this morning of a decision by the Palestinian public prosecutor [affiliated with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in Ramallah] to block 11 Palestinian websites,” the source, an employee at a Ramallah-based internet service provider (ISP), said.
The blocked websites include the Palestinian Information Center and the Shehab News Agency – affiliated with Hamas – and the ‘Voice of Fatah’; known to be close to Mohammed Dahlan, a controversial Palestinian MP expelled from Fatah in 2011.
On Thursday, Iyad al-Qarra, editor of Palestine, a newspaper close to Hamas, confirmed that the newspaper’s website had been blocked in the West Bank.
“As part of an ongoing policy of suppressing Palestinian media freedom, the newspaper’s website was recently blocked,” al-Qarra said via Facebook.
“Unfortunately, local ISPs responded [to the public prosecutor’s directive] by swiftly blocking the targeted websites,” he added.
“Our colleagues with technical expertise are currently trying to undo the move, as our newspaper, through its website, has tens of thousands of readers across the West Bank,” al-Qarra said.
The PA public prosecutor Ahmed Barak declined to comment on the issue.
Also on Thursday, the pro-Dahlan Amad news website issued a statement saying that it, too, could no longer be accessed in the West Bank.
Hamas, for its part, blames Dahlan for much of the political turmoil that hit the Gaza Strip following the withdrawal of Israeli troops in 2005.