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Publication of English-language Palestine Times to be resumed

BBC Monitoring

Text of report in English by Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post website on 18 July

    [Report by Rory Kress: "'Palestine Times' to Resume Publishing"]

    The Palestine Times, which closed down in May due to financial problems, plans to resume publishing in August, according to its founder and editor-in-chief, Othman Mohammed. When it was launched last November, it became the first Palestinian paper to be sold in Israel since the 1967 Six Day War.

    Mohammed said the paper, which is privately financed, had losses of close to $500,000. Nevertheless, he said, he was determined to re-launch it, because it "is very important to us Palestinians to report... Palestinian stories from an... independent Palestinian point of view."

    The Times received worldwide attention from the outset, staffed by foreign and Palestinian journalists. Despite its auspicious start, Mohammed said it did not receive enough local recognition.

    "I was very disappointed about how people reacted to it," he told The Jerusalem Post. "You could buy it from the Golan to Eilat to Haifa. Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership and readership did not appreciate the fact that there was a Palestinian voice that could be reached throughout Israel."

    Some of Mohammed's former employees said the paper was mismanaged. One former employee said promised salaries were reduced retroactively.

    "In a country with hardly any jobs, when someone gets a job they're really willing to work... even for a low salary," the ex-employee said. "And they can't say anything because they will be fired and someone else will be hired to take their place. You didn't have a high degree of worker content."

    Mohammed attributed the salary problems to unreliable investors and administrative chaos. But he said the paper could still become a lucrative investment.

    Another ex-employee said the paper "was a great idea... In Haaretz I couldn't read about a Palestinian family that excelled at something."

    According to Jacqueline Chimera, an American former employee of the paper: "I think it was much more than journalism... It was started because the owner saw that there was a gap, a need for news to come from the West Bank in English for educated Palestinians, educated Israelis... Now that it's not around right now, it's left a vacuum."

    Source: The Jerusalem Post website, Jerusalem, in English 18 Jul 07



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