Syria's ruling party newspaper Tuesday blasted the first visit to Israel by a group of Algerian journalists.
"This gang of journalists does not represent the Algerian people, this gang cannot represent our Algerian colleagues who stand firmly for the Palestinian cause and Arab rights," the daily Al-Baath said.
"This gang only represents defeatism in the face of the enemy, it is condemned and rejected along with all those behind this visit, which aims at opening secret or public channels for normalizing relations between Algeria and Israel."
"Arab citizens can barely believe that the program for their visit includes a tour of the occupied Golan Heights," the paper added.
"Why don't they come to the other side of the Golan, and visit Quneitra which was razed to the ground by the blind hatred of the Israelis?" it asked, referring to the main town in the area, which was occupied for a time by the Israelis and then destroyed when they pulled out.
The Cairo-based Federation of Arab Journalists, which groups the journalists' unions of all Arab countries, on Monday branded the visit a "clear violation" of its resolutions outlawing normalization with Israel.
"We call for the punishment of all those violating the boycott," said a statement signed by the group's secretary general, Salaheddin Hafez, without specifying how they should be punished.
The group of Algerian journalists and academics began their groundbreaking visit to Israel Monday with a meeting with Foreign Minister David Levy.
Levy's spokesman, Aviv Shiron, said the Algerians had been invited by the foreign ministry and their visit was a good sign. The Algerian government was aware of it, but it was not an official delegation, he stressed to AFP - DAMASCUS (AFP)
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