A United Nations envoy has condemned the terrorist group Hamas, which exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, for the use of violence against protesters and journalists, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.
As protests against Hamas for high prices have continued since last week, the terror group has implemented harsh measures to suppress the dissent. Seven journalists were reported in Hamas custody.
A source at the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate told the Times that the reporters were being held for covering the protests and that those remaining in custody could be released soon.
The syndicate said that since the unrest began, Hamas had arrested 17 journalists but released ten. Four required hospitalization.
It also said that it documented instances of Hamas forces beating journalists and seizing their equipment. The group said that Hamas had beaten journalist Osama al-Kahlout, who had been held for four days.
I condemn the Hamas violence in #Gaza against protesters, women, #children; journalists & human rights activists. #Palestinian factions must engage with Egypt on the basis of the the Cairo Agreement. #UN is working to avoid escalation, lift the closures, & support reconciliation
— Nickolay E. MLADENOV (@nmladenov) March 17, 2019
“I strongly condemn the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days,” Nikolay Mladenov, the UN envoy to Israel and the Palestinian territories, said.
“I am particularly alarmed by the brutal beating of journalists and staff from the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and the raiding of homes,” he continued. “The long-suffering people of Gaza were protesting the dire economic situation and demanded an improvement in the quality of life in the Gaza Strip. It is their right to protest without fear of reprisal.
According to Hebrew media reports, Hamas used live fire on Friday to quell the protests.
Friday’s protests came the day after Hamas fired two rockets at Tel Aviv, leading to Israeli air strikes against the terror group’s facilities overnight. Hamas fired nine more rockets into Israel Thursday night.
Hamas canceled Friday’s riots, called the Great March of Return, at the border fence with Israel. The organizers of the so-called March explained the cancellation as being “out of concern for our people and in preparation for” a larger one on the first anniversary, which will be March 30.
Last month, the IDF issued a report that found that the violent riots on Gaza’s border with Israel were orchestrated by Hamas as a cover for other military activities.
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