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Algerian Anger over Israeli Journalist’s ‘Infiltration’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A general view of the upper parliament chamber is pictured in Algiers, Algeria. Reuters

Algiers- Algeria’s Islamic Justice and Development Front Party has criticized the authorities for allowing an Israeli-French journalist to accompany French Prime Minister Manuel Valls during his visit to Algeria last month.

Algerians are sensitive towards such issues and the visit of the Maariv journalist was seen as an attempt to “normalize” ties with Israel.

Justice and Development Front MP Hassan Aribi on Friday raised several questions to Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, asking him to provide clarifications as to how “the Israeli journalist infiltrated the land of the martyrs.”

The lawmaker said: “I regret to inform you that millions of Algerians like me went into a state of shock when we were informed that the press of the enemy published a report about Algeria on May 23, 2016 while quoting several Algerian cabinet ministers.”

“The report included exclusive photographs on Algeria taken by the journalist,” said Aribi.

Maariv published the report on the political and economic situation in Algeria amid reports on a “war” over who would succeed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and as the country suffers a several financial crisis as a result of a decline in oil prices.

The journalist also published photographs on the country’s picturesque scenes. He was able to carry out his mission during the three days he spent in Algeria with a group of French reporters.

The finance, industry and tourism ministers, who made remarks to the newspaper, were likely not aware that they were talking to an Israeli reporter.

Aribi expressed deep regret that Houari Boumediene International Airport, which is named after the person who always supported the Palestine question, was visited by an Israeli.

He also expressed “sadness” that the journalist roamed the streets of the capital and entered state institutions.

This “provokes us as Algerians and it’s frustrating for an Algerian policeman who loves Palestine to accompany this journalist to guard him without being aware that he is from Israel,” said the lawmaker.

Addressing the Foreign Minister, Aribi asked “How did agencies falling under your authority grant a visa to this Israeli to enter Algeria? Who is directly responsible for it?”

“Why didn’t the security agencies notice this dangerous violation of national sovereignty?” he wondered. “Is this a setback for the intelligence of the Algerian state or is there any intention to normalize ties with the state of the terrorist entity?”

Sources said that the Algerian Embassy had denied the journalist a visa on his Israeli passport to cover the news of Valls’ visit to the country. But he applied several days later on his French passport and got it.