Israel allows Palestinian dailies into Gaza, Hamas bans them
Israeli allowed three West Bank-based Palestinian newspapers into the Gaza Strip Wednesday, after 20 months, but Hamas prevented them from entering.
Palestinian officials on the committee which liaises with Israel on the entry of goods into the enclave, said the Hamas authorities ruling the Strip informed the committee that the three dailies would not be allowed in.
"The government (Hamas) informed us that it decided to ban the entrance of the dailies into the Gaza Strip, because the issue was not coordinated with it," an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the German Press Agency dpa.
However, some Palestinian observers in Gaza said the Hamas decision was related to its bitter feud with the Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas.
One of the three dailies, al-Quds, published in East Jerusalem, is an independent, the others - al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida - which are published in Ramallah, back the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Fatah.
Israel did not allow the newspapers into the Strip as part of the blockade it imposed on the salient after militants snatched an Israeli soldier in a June 25 2006 cross-border raid. The siege was tightened in June 2007 after Hamas seized control of the enclave by force, routing, in a week of bloody violence, Fatah officials loyal to the PA and to Abbas.
But fierce international pressure on the Jewish state, following its seizure of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine activists were killed, led the Israeli government last month to decide relax the blockade, and allow most consumer goods to enter the enclave.