September 13, 2001
JERUSALEM — Palestinian leaders moved Wednesday to repair the political
damage done by news footage of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after
hearing of Tuesday’s terror strikes in the USA.
Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Authority’s president, was filmed donating blood
for the victims. Arab League spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi hastily organized a
candlelight vigil at the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem nearly 24 hours after
hundreds of Israelis flocked to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv in a spontaneous
outpouring of grief.
Palestinian Cabinet Secretary Ahmed Abdel Rahman used tougher measures to
avoid an international backlash in response to apparent Palestinian jubilation.
Abdel Rahman called international news agencies and said the safety of their
staff could not be guaranteed unless they withdrew the embarrassing footage
of Palestinian police firing joyfully in the air.
Such threats appeared to succeed in suppressing immediate release of video
showing large street celebrations in Ramallah, Bethlehem and other West Bank
In Bethlehem’s Dehaishe refugee camp, Palestinian community leaders
condemned the strikes in the USA and said there had been no celebrations
Tuesday. But even after much prompting in Arabic to stay on message, ordinary
Palestinians were unable to stifle their pleasure at America’s downfall.
“I’ve never been so happy in my life as when I heard the news,” said Khalil Abu
Laban, a father of seven. “The Americans are responsible for everything. ‘The
friend of your enemy is your enemy,'” he said, quoting from religious texts.
“I am against killing of innocent civilians, but the Americans are bad.
This is good for us, the Palestinians.”
“The Jews are assassinating, destroying and wounding Palestinians
every day,” said his wife, Aisheh. “Let them feel the suffering we have been
feeling for a long time.”
Journalists accuse Palestinians of harassment
Reuters, Friday, September 14, 2001
JERUSALEM, Sept 13 (Reuters) – The Israel Foreign Press Association
(FPA) accused Palestinian officials on Thursday of harassing
journalists and failing to stop gunmen from trying to suppress
coverage of Palestinians celebrating terror attacks in the United
The FPA urged the Palestinian Authority to ensure freedom of the
press and to prevent threats being made against journalists which
were tantamount to censorship.
The Authority denied the accusations of harassment, which centred on
celebrations by hundreds of Palestinians who handed out sweets and
fired guns in the air on Tuesday in the West Bank city of Nablus.
“The FPA expresses deep concern over the harassment of journalists
by the Palestinian Authority as police forces and armed gunmen tried
to prevent photo and video coverage of Tuesday’s rally in Nablus
where hundreds of Palestinians celebrated the terror attacks in N.Y.
(New York) and Washington,” the FPA said in a statement.
“We strongly condemn the direct threats made against local
videographers by local militia members and the attitude of
Palestinian officials who made no effort to counter the threats,
control the situation, or to guarantee the safety of the journalists
and the freedom of the press,” it said.
The FPA said it held the Palestinian Authority responsible for the
safety of all journalists working in areas it controls.
Asked by telephone about the allegations of harassment, Palestinian
Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said: “We deny that.”
He also denied there had been celebrations in Nablus and added: “If
it took place it was by a very few people and it does not reflect
A Reuters reporter saw hundreds of people celebrating in the streets
of Nablus after the terror attacks which levelled the twin towers of
the World Trade Center in New York City and struck the Pentagon in
The revellers handed out sweets. Cars lining the square honked their
horns and gunmen fired into the air from assault rifles in
A few dozen people also celebrated in Arab East Jerusalem, although
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat condemned the attacks.
Israel to AP: Release film of Palestinian celebrations
Jerusalem Post breaking news, 13 September 2001
Israel is demanding The Associated Press release a videotape of Palestinian
celebrations held in the wake of Tuesday’s terror attacks in the United States.
The video reportedly captured Palestinian Authority security personnel
participating in celebrations around the territories.
Israel claims the Palestinian photographer who shot the film and passed it on to
The Associated Press received death threats.
Ra’anan Gissin, a senior aide to Sharon, called the incident “journalism under
The Associated Press yesterday refused to comment on reports that it had
refrained from broadcasting the film following pressure from the Palestinian