PA to try Arab reporter for criticizing Bethlehem health services

BETHLEHEM (JWN and agencies) — George Canawati, director of Bethlehem Radio 2000 and a member of one of the town’s prominent Christian families, was arrested last week on charges of “slander and defamation” for a report on the local Palestinian Authority medical clinic.

He was charged and released on bail after being arrested on a complaint by Bethlehem Governor Abdel Fattah Hamayel. Canawati had aired a report accusing the clinic of negligence and inefficiency. He also accused it of┬áviolating the PA’s own boycott of Israeli products by serving Israeli-manufactured fruit juice to patients.

Canawati was questioned by PA Intelligence last year for reporting on tensions between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. He is the second Palestinian journalist to be singled out by the PA security services recently. Majdoleen Hassouneh, a female photojournalist from Nablus, has been in hiding since July after refusing interrogation for reporting about a sit-in strike by families of Palestinians held in PA jails.