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Hamas offers to hire Ma'an staff after closing Gaza office

Oct. 1, 2013 11:14 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 3, 2013 11:39 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A spokesman for the Hamas-run government in Gaza on Tuesday offered to hire Ma'an staff members after Ma'an Network announced it would stop operations in Gaza due to the closure of its office.

Ehab al-Ghussein said the "non-independent, non-professional Ma'an News Agency keeps on doing its immoral work which harms the life of the Palestinian people," and offered to hire all of Ma'an's Gaza staff within the Hamas government's temporary employment program.

The government is ready to absorb former staff "until they find another work opportunity," he said.

"Instead of complying with initiatives by several journalists from different directions suggesting that Ma'an rectify its course, which has seriously moved away from professionalism, the news agency continues with its immoral conduct by abusively firing its employees," al-Ghussein said.

Ma'an's administration likened the proposal to the practice of sexual assault perpetrators being forced to marry their victim. "Hamas has shut down Ma'an's office, violating press freedoms, and now, motivated by a guilty complex, has suggested it would employ Ma'an's Gaza staff," a statement read.

Ma'an Network announced Monday that it would stop working in the Gaza Strip as it seeks to recoup financial losses from the Hamas government's July closure of its Gaza City office.

In a statement, Ma'an said that the Hamas government had seized control of its office and equipment in the weeks since the closure and it could therefore no longer justify paying expenses toward the operation.

The statement also reiterated "complete confidence in our colleagues in Gaza" and insisted it remained committed to its "administrative and financial commitments" toward them.

Hamas closed Ma'an's Gaza City office on July 25, citing vague accusations.

At the time, the attorney general said he ordered the closure after Hamas officials accused Ma'an of deliberately publishing "false news reports seeking to incite against Gaza."
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