Palestinian court blocks 59 websites critical of government


RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian court has blocked access to 59 websites critical of the Palestinian Authority, a decision that has drawn wide criticism.

The court ruling, handed down on Oct. 17 but revealed Monday, says the websites publish materials that "threaten national security and civil peace."

Most of the sites are run by supporters of the Islamic militant group Hamas or Mohammed Dahlan, rivals to President Mahmoud Abbas. All are critical of the Palestinian Authority. The PA has blocked dozens of critical websites in recent years.

In a rare move, Abbas' government called on the attorney general to overturn the latest decision.

Ammar Dweik, head of the Palestinian Commission for Human Rights, says his organization will appeal against the ruling, which "restricts free reporting and free speech."