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Israel Pulls Credentials of Two Arab Journalists

Media: Press office threatens legal action against CNN and NBC over Ramallah reports.

April 03, 2002|From Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel revoked the credentials of two Abu Dhabi TV journalists on Tuesday and threatened legal action against CNN and NBC for ignoring military orders and broadcasting from the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

A statement from the Government Press Office said the press cards of journalists Leileh Odeh and Bassam Azawi were canceled after Abu Dhabi Television broadcast a story Sunday alleging that Israeli troops executed a group of young men in Ramallah.

The satellite channel's staff "have for some time operated crude anti-Israel propaganda and have been taking a hostile and combative attitude, creating uproar in the Arab world," the statement said, adding that the station showed "utter disregard" for Israeli military censorship rules.

Israel and the Palestinians have offered contradictory accounts of how the men in Ramallah died Saturday.

The Palestinians say Israeli soldiers opened fire after the Palestinians had surrendered.

But the military says troops came under fire and shot back.

The Government Press Office also said it had sent written complaints to CNN and NBC, whose correspondents continued broadcasting from Ramallah after Israel declared the city a closed military zone, off limits to journalists.

"If they do not stop violating Israeli law, the state of Israel will be compelled to take the steps to which it is obliged by law," the statement said, without elaborating.

A CNN spokeswoman in New York said only that the network "is monitoring the situation." NBC did not immediately return phone calls asking for its response.

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