Palestinian Eyad Hamad, who has been a video journalist for a number of years, says he was fired from the well-known American news agency Associated Press (AP) after the Palestinian Authority allegedly filed “a complaint” against him.
63-year-old Hamad, who lives in Bethlehem, told the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post that the complaint came after he criticized the Palestinian security forces for arresting and beating another Palestinian journalist.
– I have worked for the AP for 20 years and covered many incidents in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and in a number of Arab countries. This decision came as a surprise to me and my colleagues, says the Palestinian journalist.
Hamad and a number of other Palestinian journalists have expressed their anger over the AP’s decision to fire him. They say they are planning a series of protests against the international news agency in the coming days.
– Eyad Hamad pays the price for defending Palestinian journalists against the oppressive actions of the Palestinian Authority, says an unnamed journalist colleague.
The Palestinian journalists’ syndicate has issued a statement condemning what they call an arbitrary dismissal of the video journalist. At the same time, they are asking the AP to withdraw the dismissal, which they believe is “unfair”.
Hamad believes the firing came after he and a number of other Palestinian journalists launched a campaign to secure the release of Anas Hawwari, a Palestinian journalist recently arrested by Palestinian security forces.
According to Hamad, the campaign led to threats from the Palestinian security services, who said they would fire him from the AP.
During the demonstration to get Hawwari released, Hamad allegedly held a poster that read, “President Mahmoud Abbas, I demand protection from [Palestinian] security agencies.” It may have cost the 63-year-old his job.
A senior PA security official told the Jerusalem Post that he was unaware that a complaint had been lodged with the AP regarding Hamad. Joe Federman, head of the AP in the Palestinian territories, declined to comment