Arab Editor Protests Closing of Weekly Paper in Nazareth

The editor of an Arabic weekly published in Nazareth has protested the closure of his publication, charging that the authorities ordered it closed merely for political reasons.

Raja Agbariya, 36, a resident of the Israeli Arab town of Umm el-Fahm, summoned a news conference in Jerusalem on Thursday, following the decision of the interior ministry not to renew the license of his weekly, A-Raya.

The weekly was the organ of an extremist Palestinian movement, Abna el-Balad, or children of the country, which believes in establishing a secular state on the entire area of Greater Israel.

The Interior Ministry informed Agbariya last Friday that its license was revoked due to “connections” with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a rejectionist terrorist organization led by Dr. George Habash, a Communist who is of Christian Arab origin.

Agbariya denied this, saying there was no connection whatsoever with the PFLP. He challenged authorities to sue him if they had any evidence to support their charges.

Abna el-Balad is the most radical Palestinian group operating openly inside Israel. As such, the authorities have kept a close watch on the organization.

Agbariya himself was recently ordered to three-and-a-half months in jail, under an administrative arrest order, following his involvement in organizing a Palestinian demonstration in Umm-El Fahm on Dec. 21.

Meanwhile, a curfew imposed Wednesday on the Arab village of Isawiya, near Jerusalem, continued Thursday. It was expected to last past the weekend.

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