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Arabic Paper Faces Closure

The editor of the East Jerusalem Arabic newspaper Al-Mithak has appealed to the Jerusalem branch of the Israel Journalists Association for help to block the shut-down of the daily on grounds that it is a front for a terrorist organization.

Mahmoud Khatib, who edits Al-Mithak was notified by Jerusalem District Commissioner Rafael Levy this week that the Interior Ministry is considering closing the newspaper because it was “guided” by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist group headed by George Habash and based in Lebanon. Similar notification was sent to an associated publication, the Arabic weekly Al-Ahd.

The editors of both were summoned to the commissioner’s office next week to argue why the closures should not be ordered. Khatib launched a public campaign to avert closure and met with Journalist Association’s Executive Board. It was the first time an Arab editor sought help from Israeli colleagues. Khatib told them that his paper has never had connections with any terrorist organization.