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Classics: Wafa, the Palestinian news agency, a revival in Hebrew writing

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Un jeune homme palestinien transportant un olivier entre les Territoires palestiniens et Israël, le 8 mars 2021. (Image d'illustration) © AP - Oded Balilty A young Palestinian man carrying an olive tree between the Palestinian Territories and Israel, March 8, 2021. (Image for illustration) Since

years Wafa provides information in Arabic, English, French. Now, it does also in Hebrew. Its objective is clear: to address the Israelis in their language, and make them understand the Palestinian perspective.

From our special envoy permanent RFI Jerusalem

This is not the first time that this information agency launches Hebrew service. A first in Hebrew writing had actually started in 2009, before being closed six years later in 2015, officially for internal reasons.

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But this time, Wafa aims to impose on the Palestinian-Israeli media scene, said since the agency's headquarters in Ramallah, its editor, Khouloud Assaf. Locked behind the separation wall built by Israel in the early 2000s, the occupied West Bank Palestinians have become almost invisible within Israeli society. Their cause and their claims, are a distant memory for the Israelis. The young Israeli generations know nothing of their struggle. Their struggle, their actions are qualified as terrorist acts by the political class of the Hebrew State, and by most of the Israeli media. ► To listen

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A bridge between two worlds

Yet thousands of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank daily checkpoints to visit Israel, to work there. Nearly half a million Israeli settlers live in the Palestinian territories occupied West Bank. But it is as if the two companies were living in two parallel worlds, ignoring almost everything to each other.

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The Israelis also prohibited from entering Palestinian cities. Several kilometers before entering the Palestinian cities, Israeli authorities have erected huge red signs on which is written in English, Arabic and Hebrew: "strictly forbidden to enter the Authority-controlled territories Palestinian, under penalty of prosecution. "

Counter censorship and rightward Israeli society

's Hebrew service of the Palestinian Wafa agency wants to overcome the main difficulty, "the censorship of the Israeli media" by the command of the state's armed forces Hebrew says the editor of Wafa. "The return of a true service in Hebrew, broadcasting daily in the official language of Israel is to directly influence the Israeli public," said Khouloud Assaf said. According to her, with rare exceptions, the majority of Israeli media broadcast a partial and biased picture of the Palestinian reality.

Yet, major Israeli media journalists who speak Arabic, who read Arabic. But the agency Wafa said he wanted to resume his service in Hebrew to counter it believes a "rightward" of the Israeli press of "increasingly racist." The editor of Wafa agency admits: Israeli society is not completely insensitive to the Palestinian cause. Khouloud Assaf, even remembers receiving a hundred applications from Israeli journalists wishing to work for the agency Wafa between 2009 and 2015. But the new service in Hebrew only has currently 6 journalists. The editor believes that this is a good start.

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