The Ramallah bureau of the popular Qatari satellite television network Al-Jazeera reopened Friday ,March 23, two days after armed Palestinian security forces shut it down, the bureau chief said.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "on Friday evening ordered the reopening of our office after he received a delegation from our team," Walid Omari told AFP.
Arafat's Palestinian Authority had closed Al-Jazeera's office allegedly because it broadcast previews for a documentary on Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon that included a shot of an Arafat opponent dangling a shoe over a portrait of him, a sign of disrespect.
The Palestinians' action sought "to change the tone of a television program by resorting to force, something all free media reject," Al-Jazeera said in a statement Wednesday. The statement added: "Al-Jazeera will never under any circumstance stop covering the Palestinian cause."
Al-Jazeera, founded in 1996 shortly after Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani took power, has become immensely popular in the Arab world for its frank coverage of social and political issues. — (AFP, Ramallah)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)