Silencing the Press

 

 

A Report on Israeli Attacks against Journalists

 

01 April 2004 - 31 October 2007

 

 

 

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations

Affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists – Geneva

Member of the International Federation for Human Rights – Paris

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network

 

E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org

Web-Page: www.pchrgaza.org

 

 


 

 

 

 

Introduction.

Violation of the Right to Life and Physical Integrity.

Beating, Humiliation and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment

Detention and Holding of Journalists.

Detention.

Holding.

Restrictions on Movement

Denial of Access to Scenes of Incidents.

Denial of Traveling.

Confiscation of Media Equipment

Attacks against Media Institutions.

PCHR’s Notes.

 


“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

 

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948

 

 “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

 

Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966

 

“Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians … They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians…”

Article 79 – Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol 1)


 

Introduction

 

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued to attack journalists despite the protection assigned to them under international humanitarian law.  Journalists have been subjected to various kinds of attacks in apparent attempts by IOF to prevent media coverage of human rights violation those forces have perpetrated against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).[1]

 

In light of the attacks by IOF against journalists, PCHR has issued a series of reports, “Silencing the Press,” which document attacks by IOF against local and international journalists and media institutions in the OPT to draw the attention of the world to human rights violations perpetrated by IOF in the OPT. 

 

This report is the 11th in an ongoing series of reports produced by the PCHR, documenting attacks by IOF against journalists from local and international press agencies, during the current al-Aqsa Intifada.  This report is aimed at documenting the attacks by IOF against journalists in the period 1 April 2004 – 31 October 2007.  The reporting period witnessed 316 attacks by IOF against journalists and media institutions.  Such attacks included violations of the right to life and physical integrity; beating and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; detention; denial of access to areas of clashes; confiscation of media equipment; bombardment of media institutions; restrictions on the freedom of movement; and house raids. Information included in this report is based on field investigations eyewitnesses’ testimonies. Investigations conducted by PCHR into various attacks, especially killings, indicate that such attacks were deliberate and that IOF did not adhere to the principles of distinction and proportionality.  

 

Since the beginning of the current al-Aqsa Intifada on 28 September 2000, IOF have killed 8 journalists.[2]

 

Table (1): Journalists Killed by IOF

 

Name

Age

Place of residence

Job

Date of killing

Place of killing

Mohammed ‘Abdul Karim al-Beeshawi

27

Balata, Nablus

Photographer of al-Hayat al-Jadeeda newspaper and Sawt al-Haq magazine

31 July 2001

Nablus

‘Othman ‘Abdul Qader al-Qatanani

24

‘Askar, Nablus

Correspondent of Kuwait News Agency (Kona)

31 July 2001

Nablus

Raffaele Ciriello

42

Italy

A freelance photographer

11 March 2002

Ramallah

‘Emad Subhi Abu Zahra

30

Jenin

Director of al-Nakheel Press Office

12 July 2002

Jenin

‘Essam Mithqal al-Talawi

30

Bitounia, Ramallah

Correspondent of Palestine Radio

22 September 2002

Ramallah

Nazeeh ‘Aadel Darwaza

46

Nablus

Cameraman of Palestine Television and Associated Press

19 April 2003

Nablus

James Miller

34

UK

Owner of Frost Bite Production

2 May 2003

Rafah

Mohammed ‘Aadel Abu Halima

22

Balata, Nablus

Volunteer correspondent of an-Najah University Radio

22 March 2004

Nablus

 

During the reporting period, IOF fired at journalists in 85 cases, wounding 66 of them. The same period witnessed 98 cases in which journalists IOF troops beat journalists and subjected them to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; 78 cases in which journalists were arrested and detained; 21 cases in which journalists were denied their right to carry out their job; 5 cases in which press cards and media equipment were confiscated; 21 cases in which media institutions were raided and searched; 4 cases in which journalists were prevented from traveling abroad; and 4 cases in which houses of journalists were raided and searched. 

 

Since the beginning of the current al-Aqsa Intifada, PCHR has documented 786 attacks by IOF against journalists.

 

Table (2): Israeli Attacks on Journalists

29 September 2000 – 31 October 2007

 

Kind of attack

29 Sept. – 31 Dec. 2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

1 Jan. – 31 Oct. 2007

Total

Shooting attacks resulting in death

Nil

2

3

2

1

Nil

Nil

Nil

8

Shooting attacks resulting in injuries

22

33

34

8

18

7

26

23

171

Shooting without causing casualties

4

17

17

6

11

Nil

3

6

64

Arrest, detention or interrogation

1

16

62

21

24

23

22

20

189

Beating and humiliation

9

30

24

9

13

25

40

25

175

Attacks on media institutions

4

10

33

4

6

3

8

4

72

Confiscation of media equipment

4

5

32

7

2

Nil

2

1

53

Denial of access to certain areas

2

3

2

5

3

3

4

12

34

Denial o travel

Nil

Nil

Nil

5

1

2

Nil

1

9

House raids

Nil

Nil

4

3

1

Nil

2

1

12

Total

46

116

211

70

80

63

107

93

470

 

Diagram (1): Attacks by IOF against Journalists

29 September 2000 – 31 October 2007

 

No serious investigations have been conducted into attacks by IOF against journalists from local and international media institutions, and the perpetrators of such attacks have been left free.

 

PCHR is deeply concerned for such attacks by IOF against journalists, and stresses that such attacks are an expression of the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by IOF against Palestinian civilians, which is sometimes lethal.

 

PCHR has faced some difficulties in categorizing attacks, and an attack may include more than one violation.

 


 

Violation of the Right to Life and Physical Integrity

 

IOF have fired at journalists in 85 incidents, wounding 66 of them.

 

·      On 26 October 2007, an Italian journalist called Antonio was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the thigh when IOF troops used force against a peaceful demonstration organized by scores of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders against the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. The journalist was reporting on the demonstration.

 

·      On 19 October 2007, Ghassan Bannoura, a journalist at Middle East Media Center, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the leg, when he was reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, against the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 16 October 2007, ‘Alaa’ Badarna, from the German news agency, was wounded by 4 rubber-coated metal bullets to the right shoulder, when IOF troops that had moved into Nablus and the neighboring ‘Askar refugee camp fired at him. During that incursion, IOF troops also shot dead a member of the Palestinian resistance and an old man and wounded 8 other Palestinians.

 

·      On 5 October 2007, ‘Emad Bernat, from Reuters news agency, was seriously wounded as he was hit by a sound bombs detonated by IOF troops, when he was reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF dispersed the demonstration by force. Bernat was wearing a suit with a clear press badge, and was carrying a camera when IOF troops fired at him. According to Badarna, he has become unable to walk normally.

 

·      On 2 October 2007, hundreds of Palestinian civilians and dozens of journalists gathered near Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, waiting for 29 Palestinians who would be released from Israeli jails through the crossing. When the released Palestinians started to get out of the crossing, civilians and journalists moved forwards and got nearly 300 meters close to the crossing. Suddenly and without warning, IOF troops positioned at observation towers around the crossing opened fire at these civilians and journalists. As a result, Mohammed Jadallah Salem, 23, a cameraman of Reuters, was wounded by a gunshot to the left leg. 

 

·      On 20 September 2007, Nasser Suleiman Eshtayeh, 37, a cameraman of Associated Press, hit by a sound bomb to the feet detonated by IOF troops that had moved into Nablus.

 

·      On 5 July 2007, a journalist working for the local al-Aqsa Television was deliberately targeted by IOF.  ‘Emad Ghanem, a cameraman of the al-Aqsa Television, was shot 3 times by IOF and as a result of his wounds both of his legs were amputated. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 02:30 on Thursday, 5 July 2007, an IOF infantry unit moved nearly 1,000 meters into al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.  IOF troops raided nearby homes, used them as bases for operations and eventually received air and ground reinforcements.  Clashes with resistance fighters ensued and continued throughout the morning. At approximately 08:00 ‘Emad Ghanem, 21, a cameraman of the al-Aqsa Television, left his home to cover the clashes.  According to Ghanem, in his haste he failed to dress in the clothing that normally identifies him as a journalist. At approximately 11:00 an Israeli tank shell was fired, killing or wounding a number of fighters and civilians.  Ghanem rushed to report what had happened and film the injured and dead being evacuated.  While attempting to film the scene, Ghanem was hit to his right leg.  He fell onto the ground and his camera fell next to him.  According to Ghanem and other witnesses, soon after Ghanem was hit, Israeli tanks, which had been about 70 meters away, advanced and began to shoot intensely at the area where he lay wounded.  All those trying to reach Ghanem, including other members of the press (Turkish Press Agency, al-Manar Television and al-Arabiya Television), were forced to take cover and were unable to reach him. The Israeli tanks eventually halted their advance, stopping within 30 meters of Ghanem.  Approximately 5-10 minutes after first being hit, the Israelis fired twice more at Ghanem, striking him to the left leg and again to his right leg.  Those in the vicinity, including press colleagues and nearby residents, tried again to reach him, but as before, they were prevented from doing so by Israeli fire.  Not until 15-20 minutes later, when the firing ceased and the Israeli tanks finally withdrew, were they able to reach Ghanem and carry him to safety. Ghanem arrived at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City with life-threatening wounds and was rushed into surgery.  As a result of his serious injuries, doctors were forced to amputate his legs; Ghanem’s right leg was amputated above the knee and his left leg was amputated below the knee.  He was then moved into the intensive care unit where he remained in a critical condition for a number of days.

 

·      On 15 June 2007, an American journalist, Rab, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the abdomen, fired at him by IOF troops. He was reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF troops used force to disperse the demonstration.

 

·      On 1 June 2007, Castillo Herror, a Greek journalist, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the head fired at him by IOF troops. He was reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF troops used force to disperse the demonstration.

 

·      On 25 May 2007, ‘Abbas al-Moumani, a photographer of France Press Agency (AFP), was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the head, fired at him by IOF troops. He was together with other journalists reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF troops used force to disperse the demonstration. Al-Moumani was wearing a suit with the press badge.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Moumani stated:

 

“After a number of journalists and I had finished reporting on the weekly demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, and the use of force by IOF against the demonstrators, we went back to the entrance of the village to travel in our cars, which were marked by the press badge. A number of IOF troops stopped us and tried to prevent us from reaching our cars for no apparent reason. It was clear that they just wanted to obstruct us. We agreed with them to allow two of us to bring the cars. Ahmed Gharabla, a journalist from Gama news agency and Is’haq al-Kbaisa, a journalist from PalMedia, went to bring the cars, but IOF troops detained them near the cars. When we walked towards the entrance of the village, we were surprised by IOF troops present there. They immediately moved towards us. An IOF officer asked us: ‘Why are you here?’ I answered him: ‘We were carrying our job and we are now on our way back…’ Soon after, an IOF soldier fired at me from a distance of only 2 meters. I was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the head, and I fell onto the ground. My colleagues gathered around me, but IOF troops fired 4 tear gas canisters at us. I was then evacuated to the hospital. Later, I learnt that Gharabla and al-Kbaisa were detained for 2 hours.”

 

·      On 17 May 2007, IOF troops fired at Mohammed ‘Eissa al-Ashqar, a cameraman of the local al-Salam Television in Tulkarm, when he was getting out of his car, which was clearly marked by the press badge. Al-Ashqar, who was wearing a bullet-proof suit marked with the press badge, parked his car in Port Said Street in the east of the town. He got out of his car to film an incursion by IOF into the town. An IOF soldier who was positioned at a nearby intersection fired at al-Ashqar. He was not hurt, but the front window of the car was broken.

 

In his testimony by PCHR, al-Ashqar stated:

 

“I traveled towards Port Said Street in Tulkarm to report on an incursion by IOF into Tulkarm refugee camp. As soon as I parked my car and got out of it, an IOF soldier positioned at a nearby intersection fired at me, although I was wearing a suit clearly marked with the press badge. My car was also marked with the press badge. The front window of my car was damaged. I shouted on the soldier: ‘What are you doing? I am a journalist and this is a press car.’ He answered me: ‘Photographing is banned and you must leave the area immediately.”

 

·      On 16 May 2007, two journalists were wounded when IOF bombarded a site of the Executive Force of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Rafah. Three members of the Executive Force were killed and 27 Palestinians, including Fadi ‘Omar al-Nahhal, correspondent of the local al-Shabab radio, and Sameer Mohammed al-Bouji, a journalist from the al-Buraq news agency, were wounded. The two journalists were in a police station close to the targeted site interviewing the chief of police about his earlier resignation. Al-Nahhal was wounded by shrapnel to the legs, and al-Bouji was wounded by shrapnel to the back.

 

·      On 20 April 2007, IOF troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at a number of journalists who were reporting on a peaceful demonstration in organized Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. Mos’ad Abu Te’ma, 34, a cameraman of the British Channel 4, wounded by 2 rubber-coated metal bullets to the head and the back. Additionally, Shireen Abu ‘Aaqla and Ramadan ‘Afana, from al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, and Daoud ‘Akkila, a cameraman of Dubai Television, suffered from tear gas inhalation. As IOF troops used force to disperse the peaceful demonstration, 12 demonstrators, including 4 women and 4 international human rights defenders, were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, journalist Daoud ‘Akkila stated:

 

“Amani Abu Hantash, correspondent of Dubai Television, and I traveled to Bal’ein village to report on the weekly peaceful demonstration organized in the village in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. I started to film IOF troops oppressing the demonstrator. I was wearing a suit clearly marked with the press badge and was carrying the camera on my shoulder. While I was filming the scene, an IOF soldiers threw a tear gas canister at me. It fell near me. I suffered from tear gas inhalation, so I fainted. My colleagues took me to a safer place, where I received first medical aid, and I then left the village. IOF troops were so violent against journalists on that day.” 

 

·      On 23 March 2007, Mufeed Hassana, a photographer of Palestine News Agency (Wafa), was injured to the right thigh when IOF troops detonated a sound bomb near him, while he was photographing the weekly peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Hassana stated:

 

“I was photographing the weekly demonstration organized in the village in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. When the demonstrators got close to the Wall, IOF troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. An IOF soldiers threw a sound bomb near me and other journalists. The bomb hit my right thigh and exploded. My thigh was injured and burnt.”

 

·      On 23 February 2007, ‘Aadel Bardalu, a cameraman of CNN, was hit by a sound bomb to the face, and Muheed al-Barghouthi, a journalist of the daily local al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back, when they were reporting on the weekly peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the demonstrators.

 

·      Also on 23 February 2007, ‘Ata ‘Owaisat, a journalist from France Press Agency (AFP), was injured by shrapnel from a sound bomb detonated by IOF troops near a number of Palestinian civilians in occupied Jerusalem following the Friday Prayer.

 

·      On 16 February 2007, ‘Emad Bernat, from Reuters news agency, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the right leg fired at him by IOF troops, when he was reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF dispersed the demonstration by force.

 

·      On 16 February 2007, dozens of Palestinian civilians demonstrated at the eastern entrance of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, in protest to excavations by IOF in the vicinity of the al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. They threw stones at an IOF military post in the area. Immediately, IOF troops fired at the demonstrators, wounding Nasser Hussein Shyoukhi, a journalist, with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left leg.

 

·      On 26 January 2007, 3 journalists, including a British one, were injured by IOF troops, while reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall:

 

1.      Muheeb al-Barghouthi, 42, hit by a sound bomb to the head;

2.      Jason, 30, a British journalist, hit by a sound bomb to the head; and

3.      Mustafa Khbaisa, a photographer of Palestine Media and Communication Company, sustained bruises to the right foot as IOF troops beat him.

 

·      On 4 January 2007, Fadi al-‘Aarouri, a journalist working for the daily local al-Ayyam and Ma’an news agency, was seriously wounded by 2 gunshots to the right side, when IOF troops that had moved into Ramallah fired at him and some other journalists. Al-‘Aarouri underwent a nephrectomy surgery at Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Ramallah to stop the hemorrhage he was suffering from, and he was then transferred to an Israeli hospital. An IOF undercover unit had earlier moved into Ramallah. IOF military vehicles then moved into the town to support the undercover unit. IOF troops raided a building in the center of the town to arrest an allegedly wanted Palestinian. During the operation, 4 Palestinian civilians were killed and 19 others, including al-‘Aarouri, were wounded by the IOF gunfire.

In his testimony to PCHR, al-‘Aarouri stated:

 

“I went out of my office and headed immediately towards al-Manara Square in the center of Ramallah, when I learnt that IOF moved into the town. I joined a number of journalists in the area. We were moving together, as we used to do, to report on the incursion. When we were on Ramallah – Jerusalem road filming IOF troops, who were nearly 50 meters away from us, an IOF soldier fired at us without warning. I was wounded to the right side. I turned back, but I was hit by another gunshot to the back. I fell onto the ground unconscious. I learnt from my colleagues later that they evacuated me to Sheikh Zayed Hospital. I was then transferred to Ichilov Hospital in Israel because I was in a serious condition. On 15 May 2007, I woke up from a 5-month coma. Doctors informed me that I underwent a nephrectomy surgery.  On 15 September 2007, I was admitted into Ichilov Hospital again, where doctors ablated a part of my liver, which was damaged by the wound.” 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, ‘Abbas al-Mouanic, al-‘Aarouri’s colleague, stated:

 

“When I was standing near my colleague Fadi al-‘Aarouri, I saw an Israeli sniper positioned in the car park. He fired at least 13 gunshots at us. A gunshot hit al-‘Aarouri. The sniper could see us and realize that we are journalists. Although we hid behind an iron door of a shop, the sniper continued to fire at us until al-‘Aarouri was wounded.”

 

·      On 5 December 2006, Haitham al-‘Omari, a cameraman of the a-Arabiya Satellite Channel, was hit by shrapnel from a sound bombs detonated by IOF troops, when he was reporting on an incursion by IOF into al-Masayef neighborhood in Ramallah.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-‘Omari stated:

 

“When I was in al-Masayef neighborhood in Ramallah, I was surprised by an IOF undercover unit moving into the area to arrest someone. I started photograph IOF soldiers who were masked. While I was photographing, a number of IOF soldiers came to me and ordered me to leave the area claiming that there was a military operation in the area. I refused to leave the area and continued to carry out my job. Later, I learnt that IOF troops presented some other journalists from carrying out their job in the neighborhood. When I was about to leave the area after having finished photographing, an IOF military jeep got close to me. I thought it was intending to run me down. An IOF soldier detonated a sound bombs when hit my right foot. I sustained burns and cuts. My colleagues evacuated me to the hospital.”

 

·      On 22 November 2006, Mohammed ‘Athba, a journalist working for Associated Press, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the thigh fired at him by IOF troops. He was reporting in the demolition of houses and agricultural facilities by IOF in al-Fundoq village, east of Qalqilya.

 

·      On 20 November 2006, Ahmed Mezher, a journalist working for the Palestinian News Agency (Wafa), was wounded by shrapnel from gunshots to the limbs. IOF troops fired at him when he was reporting on a military operation in Bethlehem. An IOF undercover unit had already moved into Wad Shaheen neighborhood in Bethlehem and besieged a house belonging to the family of Mahmoud ‘Abdullah Nawawra.

 

·      On 3 November 2006, Hamza Mohammed al-‘Attar, a journalist working for the local Ramattan news agency, was seriously wounded by 3 gunshots to the left shoulder and the chest fired at him by IOF troops during an offensive on the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Al-‘Attar and his colleague, Tamer al-Jammal, were reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian women to break the siege imposed by IOF on al-Nasser Mosque in the town, where a number of members of the Palestinian resistance had shelter. Al-‘Attar was evacuated to Shifa Hospital in the Gaza City, and he was later transferred to an Israeli hospital. Doctors have not been able to remove two of the gunshots that hit al-‘Attar. During the incursion into Beit Hanoun, IOF disrupted the broadcasting of a number of Palestinian radio station, and broadcasted a recoding for the IOF spokesman ordering residents of Beit Hanoun to stay at homes.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-‘Attar stated:

 

“At approximately 07:30 on Friday, 3 November 2006, I went to Beit Hanoun together with Tamer al-Jammal, a cameraman, to report on an incursion by IOF into the town, especially when we learnt that a number of women intended to organize a peaceful demonstration to lift the siege imposed by IOF troops on a number of members of the Palestinian resistance, who had shelter in al-Nasser Mosque. We arrived at the entrance of the town, where a number of women gathered to start the demonstration. The demonstration moved towards the mosque and we moved alongside. We interviewed a number of women who participated in the demonstration. IOF tanks stationed on the road leading to the mosque, and a number of IOF soldiers took position atop of a number of nearby houses. We moved to the other side of the demonstration. IOF tanks opened fire at the demonstration form a close range. I phoned my office and informed about what was happening, and I was instructed to move back because the situation was extremely dangerous. I asked my colleague to move to the other side of the demonstration to have shelter behind houses. As we were moving, I was hit by a gunshot to the right shoulder, but continued to cross the road. While I was crossing the road, I was hit by another gunshot to the same shoulder. When I crossed the road, I was hit by a third gunshot and I fainted. I learnt later that an ambulance evacuated me to Kamal Edwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, and at approximately 10:00, I was transferred to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as I was in a serious condition. In the veining, I was transferred to Ichilov Hospital in Israel, where I received medical treatment for 2 weeks.”

 

·      On 27 August 2006, an IOF aircraft attacked a vehicle belonging to Reuters News Agency in Gaza City. The vehicle was destroyed; and two journalists who were inside were moderately injured. The vehicle was targeted despite clear markings indicating its identity. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 00:30 on Sunday, 27 August 2006, Reuters' cameraman, Fadel Sobhi Shana'a, traveled in the agency's white, armored "Land Rover" jeep to cover an IOF incursion into al-Shoja'eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. Journalist Sobhi Marwan Hmaida, from the Palestinian Media Group was accompanying Shana'a. The jeep was clearly marked with the "Press" and "TV." In addition, it had the Reuters name and logo clearly marked on it in both Arabic and English. An IOF aircraft fired a missile at the jeep when it reached the schools area on Salah al-Din Street, which is nearly 2 kilometers away from the incursion area. The missile penetrated the jeep's roof and wounded the two journalists. Shana'a was wounded to the right hand and leg, and Hmaida was wounded by shrapnel to the right leg and foot. Both journalists were taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for treatment. It is noted that at approximately 00:00 IOF moved approximately 700 meters into Shoja'eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. Clashes erupted between IOF and Palestinian resistance activists. Two Palestinians were killed and others were wounded during these clashes.

 

·      On 18 August 2006, Rami ‘Abdu, a photographer of Associated Press, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back fired at him by IOF troops. He was reporting on a peaceful demonstration organized in the protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. IOF used force to disperse the demonstration.

 

·      On 27 July 2006, ‘Ali Samoudi, correspondent of the Qatari al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back, and Mohammed Turkman, a cameraman of Reuters, was wounded by shrapnel to the face, when they were reporting on an incursion by IOF into Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank.

 

·      On 16 July 2006, 5 civilians, including a journalist, a translator and two paramedics, were wounded by IOF shelling in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Kyoto Saki, a Japanese journalist, was wounded by shrapnel to the left arm; and Majdi ‘Abdul Dayem ‘Aabdeen, a translator from Palestine, was wounded by a live bullet to the feet. IOF had already launched a wide scale military operation in the town. On the following day, IOF troops raided a house belonging to Qassem al-Kafarna, Director of Ramattan News Agency, who had transferred the house into a media center to report on the IOF incursion into Beit Hanoun. IOF troop detained all journalists who were in the house and prevented them from reporting on the incursion.

 

·      On 8 July 2006, Mohammed al-Za’noun, a photographer of the local Ma’an news agency, was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the abdomen and shrapnel to the face, when he was covering an incursion by IOF into al-Shoja’eya and al-Zaytoun neighborhoods in the east of Gaza City. IOF fired a tank shell at a number of members of the Palestinian resistance, killing 2 of them and wounding 10 other Palestinians, including al-Za’noun.   

 

·      On 7 July 2006, Hamdi al-Khour, correspondent of the Turkish Ikhlas news agency, was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the right forearm, when he was reporting on an incursion by IOF into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia.  

 

·      On 26 June 2006, an IOF soldiers fired at the car of ‘Alaa’ al-Teeti, a cameraman of the Qatari al-Jazeera Satellite Channel. A gunshot hit the left window of the car, but al-Teeti was not hurt. Al-Teeti was traveling in Palestine Street in Nablus, when 5 IOF military jeeps were withdrawing from Nablus through Granada Street at the end of an incursion into the city.

 

·      On 9 June 2006, an American journalist called Phil was sustained burns when a tear gas canister fell near him. The journalist was reporting on attacks by IOF against a peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 29 May 2006, Yahia Ibrahim al-Madhoun, correspondent of the local al-Shabab Radio, and Mahmoud al-Bayed, a cameraman of Ramattan News Agency, were wounded by shrapnel to their right legs, when an IOF aircraft fired a missile at medical crews and journalists who were carrying out their job during an IOF military operation in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, an IOF undercover unit moved into Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip.  IOF soldiers clashed with a group of the Palestinian resistance nearly 400 meters away from the American International School. During the armed clash, 4 resistance activists were killed. Three Palestinian ambulances arrived at the scene of the attack in order to evacuate the bodies, and a number of Palestinian journalists were in the area reporting on the clashes.  As soon as the medical crew got close to one of the bodies, an IOF helicopter gunship fired a missile, which fell just 50 meters away from the ambulances.  The two journalists and 4 medical personnel were wounded.

 

·      On 26 May 2006, Rami ‘Abdu, a cameraman of Associated Press, and Li Yu, a Japanese freelance journalist, were injured, while they were covering attacks by IOF troops against a peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, wounding 8 of them, including 2 international human rights defenders.

 

·      On 19 May 2006, 3 journalists were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets when they were covering attacks by IOF against a peaceful demonstration organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah:

1.      ‘Abbas al-Moumani, a cameraman of France Press, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the hand;

2.      Musheer ‘Abdul Rahman Karakra, a cameraman from the local Ma’an (Together) news agency, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the foot; and

3.      Haitham al-Khatib, a photographer of the Public Committee against the Wall, seriously wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the head.

 

·      On 14 May 2006, Sameer Ibrahim Abu al-Rub, a journalist, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the back fired at him by IOF troops during an incursion into Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin. During this incursion, 5 Palestinians were killed and 16 others, including Abu al-Rub, were wounded by IOF gunfire.

 

·      On 12 May 2006, Jamal al-‘Aarouri, a photographer of the daily local al-Ayyam, was sustained a fracture and cut in his hand, when IOF troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets at him from a close range. Al-‘Aarouri was photographing attacks by IOF against a peaceful demonstration organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. IOF troops fired at the demonstrators, wounding 12 of them, including 2 international human rights defenders.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-‘Aarouri stated:

 

“I went to Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, to photograph a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and a number of international human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. I was wearing marked with the press badge. I joined a number of journalists and we all stood near a gate of the Wall. I started to photograph attacks by IOF troops against the demonstrators. I got close to an IOF military jeep and started to photograph IOF soldiers firing rubber-coated metal bullets at the demonstrators. An IOF soldier who was standing behind the jeep, only 4 meters away from me, fired a rubber-coated metal bullet at me. It hit the cam and them my hand. I was evacuated to the hospitals and doctors told me that I had sustained fractures to 3 of my fingers.”

 

·      On 22 April 2006, Ashraf Mahmoud Abu Shawish, a freelance journalist, was wounded by 2 rubber-coated metal bullets fired at him by IOF troops, when he was reporting on clashes between a number of Palestinian school children and IOF troops in Nablus.

 

·      On 17 April 2006, IOF troops fired at a number of journalists who were photographing a house belonging to Bassem Bishara in Sheikh Musallam neighborhood in Nablus, which had been already seized by IOF. As a result, the front window of a car belonging to Nasser Eshtayeh, from Associated Press, was damaged. The car was clearly marked with the press badge.

 

·      On 6 April 2006, William David, a freelance American journalist, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet, when he was reporting on an IOF incursion into Nablus, during which clashes erupted between IOF troops and Palestinian boys.

 

·      In February 2006, Fadi al-‘Aarouri, a cameraman of the daily local al-Ayyam and Ma’an news agency, was wounded by 2 rubber-coated metal bullets to the right foot fired at him by IOF troops that attacked Palestinian civilians who were demonstrating in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Beit Siera village, west of Ramallah.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-‘Aarouri stated:

 

“Journalist Jamal al-‘Aarouri and I went to Beit Siera village, west of Ramallah. We started to photograph activities organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets at the protestors to disperse them. As I was carrying out my job, I was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the right foot. A few minutes later, I was able to stand up. However, as I started to walk to leave the area, I was wounded by another rubber-coated metal bullet to the same foot.”

 

·      On 21 February 2006, Majdi Eshtayeh, from Associated Press, was wounded by shrapnel from gunshots to the chest, when IOF troops fired at him during an incursion in Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus.

 

·      On 12 August 2005, Murad ‘Eissa al-Ashqar, a reporter of the local al-Salam TV, sustained burns to the chest, when IOF threw a sound bomb that exploded near him, as he refused to stop photographing. Al-Ashqar, together with other journalists, were reporting on an IOF incursion into Bal’a village, east of Tulkarm. IOF troops stopped the journalists and demanded them to stop photographing, but they refused. Immediately, an IOF soldiers threw a sound bomb, which exploded near al-Ashqar.

 

·      On 17 July 2005, Mo’ayad ‘Eissa al-Ashqar, a reporter of Associated Press, Ma’an news agency and al-Salam TV, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the chest fired at him by IOF troops. He was reporting on attacks by IOF troops against Palestinian civilians who threw stones at IOF military vehicles in Tulkarm. IOF troops fired at those civilians, wounding 23 of them, including 19 children.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Ashqar stated:

 

“I was together with other journalists near the Israeli military liaison office (in Tulkarm) reporting on attacks by IOF against Palestinian demonstrators. I was wearing a suit clearly marked with the press badge. I was also carrying my cam. As I was photographing, I was hit by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the chest.”

 

·      On 14 July 2005, Rami Jahahja, from Ramattan news agency, was wounded by shrapnel throughout the body, when IOF troops fired at him while he was reporting on an IOF incursion into Tulkarm. Jahahja was wearing a suit clearly marked with the press badge. He was standing with other journalists near Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in the center of Tulkarm.

 

·      On 7 June 2005, IOF troops detonated a sound bomb near Hazem Bader, a cameraman of France Press, when he was filming attacks by IOF against Palestinian civilians in Arab al-Ramadin village, southwest of Hebron, who organized a peaceful demonstration in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. Bader was wounded by shrapnel to the back.

 

·      On 1 May 2005, Mohammed Muhaisen, a cameraman of Associated Press, was wounded by 2 rubber-coated metal bullets to the head and the shoulder, when IOF troops fired at a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. Additionally, 10 demonstrators were wounded.

 

·      On 2 January 2005, IOF that had already moved into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun fired at Majdi Jamil al-'Arabeed, from Gaza City, a cameraman of the Israeli Channel 10 and director of the local al-Horriya Radio in Gaza. He was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the side and the pelvis. He was evacuated to Kamal 'Edwan Hospital in Jabalya, where he underwent a surgery, and as his condition remained serious, he was transferred to an Israeli hospital. Al-'Arabeed and a number of other journalists were covering an Israeli military incursion into Beit Hanoun. They were nearly 200 meters away from Israeli tanks and the area was quiet. Approximately 20 minutes later, Israeli tanks opened fire at the journalists, who were wearing clearly identified press suits and holding their cameras. It was then that Al-'Arabeed was wounded.

 

·      On 18 December 2004, 3 journalists were wounded by shrapnel when an IOF tank fired a shell at them when they were covering an Israeli military incursion into Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip:

 

1.      Hatem Mousa, a photographer of Palestine News Agency (Wafa);

2.      Mohammed Saber Nour al-Din, a cameraman of the German news agency; and

3.      Mahmoud al-Hams, a cameraman of France Press.

 

·      On 10 September 2004, IOF fired at Najeeb Abu al-Jbeen and Mohammed Mhaisen, from Associated Press, and Hatem Mousa, a photographer of Palestine News Agency (Wafa), when they were covering an Israeli military incursion into the northern Gaza Strip. None of them was hurt.

 

·      On 30 June 2004, IOF troops fired at vehicle clearly marked with the press badge, in which journalists Ibrahim Barzaq, Kevin Fryer and Najeeb Abu al-Jbeen, from Associated Press, and Hatem Mousa, a photographer of Palestine News Agency (Wafa), when they were traveling. They were reporting on an Israeli military incursion into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. The vehicle was damaged, but no one was hurt.

 

·      On 15 June 2004, IOF troops positioned to the east of “Nitzarim” settlement,[3] south of Gaza City, opened fire at a vehicle of Reuters news agency on Salah al-Din road, in which journalists Nidal al-Mughrabi and Shams ‘Ouda were traveling. No casualties were reported.

 

·      On 13 June 2004, Ja’far Eshtayeh, a cameraman of France Press, sustained burns to the back, when IOF troops fired a tear gas canister at him while he was reporting on attacks against hundreds of Palestinian civilians and dozens of international and Israeli human rights defenders, who peacefully demonstrated in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 5 May 2004, Suhaib Jadallah, a cameraman of Reuters news agency, was wounded by shrapnel to the right arm, and Mahmoud al-Hams, a cameraman of France Press, was wounded by shrapnel to the thighs, when IOF fired at them while they were reporting on an Israeli military incursion into Deir al-Balah town in the central Gaza Strip. The two journalists were wearing suits which clearly showed that they are journalists, and were standing near an armored vehicle of Reuters.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, journalist Jadallah stated:

 

“At approximately 11:00 on Wednesday, 5 May 2004, I was together with journalist Mahmoud al-Hams covering an Israeli military incursion into Deir al-Balah town in the central Gaza Strip. I was wearing a bullet-proof suit clearly marked with the TV badge. We were standing near an armored jeep of Reuters clearly marked with the press badge. Suddenly, an IOF tank moved towards us. A number of children started to threw stones at the tank. Soon, the tank fired at the place where a number of journalists and I were. I was wounded by shrapnel to my right arm from a gunshot that hit a wall near me. At the same time, my colleague, Mahmoud al-Hams, a cameraman of France Press, was wounded to the thighs. We were both evacuated to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.”      

 

In his testimony to PCHR, journalist Mahmoud al-Hams stated:

 

“At approximately 11:00 on Wednesday, 5 May 2004, I arrived at the main road in Deir al-Balah, particularly near the headquarters of the Palestine Red Crescent Society. I was accompanied by my colleague, Suhaib Jadallah. We were filming an IOF incursion into the town. I was nearly 50 meters away from IOF military vehicles to film Palestinian boys throwing stones at the vehicles. Five minutes later, an IOF tank fired at me. I was wounded by 2 gunshots to the thighs, and I sustained burns to the right thigh. It was clear that the tank targeted me intentionally as I was nearly 50 meters away from it. I was wearing a suit that clearly showed that I am a journalist and holding a camera.”   

 

·      On 29 April 2004, Nabil Mazawa, a cameraman of the Qatari al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left leg, when IOF troops fired at a number of children and journalists in al-Fara’a refugee camp, southeast of Jenin. Mazawa was reporting on an IOF incursion into the camp.

 

·      On 24 April 2004, ‘Ali Sadiq al-Sammoudi, correspondent of the Qatari al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, was wounded by a gunshot to the nose, when IOF troops fired at him in al-Jabriyat area in the southwest of Jenin. Al-Sammoudi and Mohammed Ballas, correspondent of the daily local al-Ayyam, were reporting on an extra-judicial execution carried out by an IOF undercover unit, which left dead 2 Palestinians. IOF troops moved into the area and attempted to prevent journalists from carrying out their jobs.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Sammoudi stated:

 

“At approximately 12:00 on Saturday, 24 April 2004, I was in my office in Abu Baker Street in the center of Jenin.  I learnt that an undercover unit of the Israeli military moved into Abu Zuhair area in the southwest of the town.  Immediately, I put on a press suit and steel helmet, took my camera and traveled with Mohammed Ballas, correspondent of al-Ayyam daily local newspaper, towards the area to report on what was going on there.  At approximately 12:10, we arrived at the area.  We heard people shouting that the Israeli military had killed a number of young men, without specifying the exact number.  They were pointing at a car that stopped behind the building of the Municipality of Jenin.  We moved slowly forward.  I could see a civilian car stopping in the area.  I saw a person sitting behind the steering of the car, and it was clear that he was dead.  Until then, I had not seen any Israeli soldiers in the area.  A number of people moved towards the car.  Immediately, they were fired at.  I saw Mohammed ‘Azzouqa falling onto the ground about 50 meters away from me.  The source of fire was a house in the area, in which a number of Israeli soldiers were positioned, as I later discovered.  Soon, about 10 Israeli military jeeps arrived at the area.  People escaped.  I remained, photographing what was going on, and Israeli soldiers did not intervene.  At approximately 12:45, a jeep moved towards me.  It stopped near Mohammed Ballas and I.  A number of angry Israeli soldiers got out of it pointing their guns at us.  The ordered us to leave the area and we complied.  We moved towards the area where the (Israeli) military was positioned.  We were walking alone on an open road controlled by the (Israeli) military.  When we were about 50 meters away from the Israeli military jeeps, Mohammed Ballas called me.  As I moved my head to respond to him, I was hit by a live bullet to the nose.  I ran towards the (Israeli) military and asked for help.  I passed by 5 military vehicles and an ambulance and no one offered me help.  I ran for about 200 meters to reach a Palestinian ambulance, which transported me to Dr. Khalil Suleiman Hospital, where I underwent surgery.  I think that the live bullet would have hit my forehead if Mohammed Ballas did not call me.  I think the live bullet was fired at me by an Israeli sniper to kill me.”        

 

·      On 10 April 2004, an IOF soldier fired a sound bomb at ‘Abdul al-Rahman Khbaisa, a cameraman of Associated Press, when he was filing attacks by IOf against Palestinian civilians in ‘Ein Beit al-Maa’ refugee camp, west of Nablus. IOF troops attempted to prevent him from filming those attacks.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Khbaisa stated:

 

“I went to ‘Ein Beit al-Maa’ refugee camp to film an IOF incursion into the camp. I started to film a number of Palestinian civilians who were being handcuffed by IOF troops. An IOF soldier shouted on me and ordered me to leave the area, but I refused and continued my work. Soon, a military jeep got close to me and an IOF soldier ordered me to leave the area claiming that it was a closed military zone. When I refused, he attempted to take my camera. I moved a few meters back. He fired a sound bomb at me. It exploded near my feet. I was not hurt. The soldier then threatened me saying: ‘Next time it will be live ammunition.’ Later, a number of IOF troops who were in a military jeep stopped me and my colleague, Fares Fares, from Ramattan news agency, when we were on our way towards Hawara checkpoint. An IOF soldier confiscated our identity and press cards.”

 

·      On 2 April 2004, IOF soldiers and police officers attacked a number of journalists who were filming attacks by IOF and the police against Palestinian worshippers in the yards of the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. ‘Ammar ‘Awadh and Mahfouz Abu Turk, from Reuters, were taken by IOF troops outside the yards of the mosque. ‘Awadh was also violently beaten by IOF troops. Additionally. ‘Ata ‘Owaisat, a cameraman of France Press, was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the right hand. IOF troops also fired a sound bomb at Rawhi al-Razem, a cameraman of Reuters. At noon, the Israeli police and “Border Guard” broke into the yards of al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.  They used excessive force against thousands of Palestinian worshippers immediately after the Friday prayer.  At least 45 Palestinian civilians were hurt, either by being hit by rubber-coated metal bullets or by inhaling tear gas. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, journalist ‘Ammar ‘Awadh stated:

 

“On Friday, 2 April 2004, I was with a number of journalists inside the al-Aqsa Mosque carrying out our job. An Israeli police officer caught my shoulder and order me to leave the area. I told him that I am a journalist and I showed him my press card, but he pulled me out. A number of other police officer joined him. They took my camera and pulled the tape out. They then violently beat me, destroyed my camera, cut my clothes and confiscated my identity card.”   

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Beating, Humiliation and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment

 

PCHR has documented many cases in which journalists were subjected to beating and other forms of violence and inhuman and degrading treatment by IOF and Israeli settlers.

 

·      On 17 August 2007, 4 journalists suffered from tear gas inhalation fired by IOF troops to disperse a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah:

 

1.      Fadi ‘Eid, 23; from Ramattan news agency;

2.      Baker Abu Rjaila, 23, from Ramattan news agency;

3.      Kamal al-Azraq, 22, from Ramattan news agency; and

4.      Ayman al-Noubani, 28, from Apollo news agency.

 

·      On 31 May 2007, a number of Israeli settlers from "Kiryat Arba" settlement, southeast of Hebron, attacked a number of Palestinian civilians and international peace activists, in an attempt to prevent them from razing grass from a tract of agricultural land. Those settlers threw stones, tomatoes and eggs at them. They also violently beat 'Abdul Hafiz al-Hashlamoun, 38, a journalist. IOF then detained him for nearly an hour.

 

·      On 18 May 2007, IOF troops attacked a number of journalists who were reporting on IOF’s dispersion of a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international human rights defender in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. IOF troops attacked Shireen Abu ‘Aaqla and Ramadan ‘Afana, from the Qatari al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, and Is’haq al-Kasba, from Palmedia.

 

·      On 11 May 2007, IOF troops violently beat a crew of Reuters comprised of Nayef al-Hashlamoun, Haitham ‘Obaid, Yusi al-Jamal and Ma’moun Wazwz, in Bani Na’im village, east of Hebron. The journalists were reporting on attacks by IOF troops against a peaceful demonstration organized in the village in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      Also on 11 May 2007, ‘Emad Bernat, a cameraman of Reuters, was violently beaten by IOF troops in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. Bernat was filming attacks by IOF troops against a peaceful demonstration organized in the village in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 2 May 2007, an IOF bulldozer attempted to run down 4 journalists who were reporting on an IOF incursion into Jenin refugee camp:

 

1.      Saif al-Dahla, from Palestine News Agency (Wafa);

2.      Mohammed al-Ballas, from Associated Press;

3.      ‘Ali Sammoudi, correspondent of al-Jazeera Satellite Channel and Palestine News Network; and

4.      Mohammed Turkman, from Reuters.

 

·      On 1 May 2007, IOF troops violently beat Mahfouz Abu Truk, a freelance journalist, and Na’el Mansour, a cameraman of Dubai Television, when they were filming a demonstration organized by Palestinian workers near Qalandya checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, on the occasion of International Labor Day.

 

·      On 8 April 2007, IOF troops and Israeli settlers violently beat ‘Ata ‘Owaisat, from Associated Press, when he refused to obey their orders not to photograph near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

 

·      On 16 March 2007, IOF troops violently beat Fadi Hamad, from Ramattan news agency, when he was reporting on attacks by IOF against a peaceful demonstration organized in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall and on the 4th anniversary of the death of peace activist Rachel Corrie.[4] 

 

·      On 12 January 2007, Emilio Morenatti, a Spanish reporter of Associated Press, sustained bruises as IOF troops violently beat him when he was reporting on attacks by IOF against a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 24 November 2006, Thomer, a photographer of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, sustained bruises, when he was photographing attacks by IOF against a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. He also suffered from tear gas inhalation used by IOF troops.

 

·      On 10 November 2006, the Israeli police violently beat Mahfouz Abu Turk, a freelance photographer, when he was reporting on attacks by the police against a number of school children who demonstrated in al-Sultan Street in Jerusalem. Abu Turk sustained bruises throughout the body.

 

·      On 4 September 2006, IOF moved into Abu Katila neighborhood in the northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses. They then transformed two houses into military sites. IOF troops violently beat 3 journalists who were covering the incidents in the area:

 

1.      Hussam Abu ‘Allan, a photographer of Palestine News Agency (Wafa);

2.      Nayef al-Hashlamoun, a cameraman of Reuters news agency; and

3.      Najeh al-Hashlamoun, a cameraman.

 

IOF troops threatened the journalists and attempted to prevent him from covering the incidents in the area. IOF left the aforementioned houses two hours later.

 

·      On 1 September 2006, Eayad Hamad, from Associated Press, sustained bruises as IOF troops violently beat him, when he was photographing attacks by IOF against a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 19 July 2006, Wa'el Tannous, 27, a cameraman of the al-Jazeera Satellite Channel; and ‘Abdul Karim Wasfi Qandil, a cameraman of the local Aafaq Television, were violently beaten by IOF troops in Nablus. The two journalists were filming an incursion by IOF into the city.

 

·      On 14 July 2006, 5 journalists were violently beaten by IOF troops that attacked a wedding part of 2 international human rights defenders organized near the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah:

 

1.      ‘Abbas al-Moumani, a cameraman of France Press;

2.      Fadi al-‘Aarouri, correspondent of the local al-Ayyam daily;

3.      Ahmed Gharbla, correspondent of the local al-Quds daily;

4.      Mohammed Muhaisen, a cameraman of Associated Press; and

5.      Raja’ei Hamad, a cameraman of Ramattan news agency, whose camera was also destroyed by IOF troops.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, journalist Fadi al-‘Aarouri stated:

 

“I was together with a number of other journalists reporting on the weekly demonstration against the Annexation Wall being constructed in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. Two international solidarity activists were holding their wedding party near the Wall as a form of peaceful protest to the construction of the Wall on Palestinian land. IOF troops arrived at the area and started to disperse the demonstrators using sound bombs, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. We, the journalists, were filming attacks by IOF troops against the demonstrators. Two IOF soldiers moved towards me and shouted on me to stop filming. They then asked me to give them my camera to confiscate its memory card, but I refused. They immediately beat me violently throughout the body. I sustained acute bruises to my left foot.”

 

In his testimony to PCHR, journalist Raja’ei Hamad stated:

 

“I was together with a number of other journalists reporting on a wedding party of 2 international solidarity activists, which was being held near the Annexation Wall in Bal’ein village. I was wearing a suit which was clearly marked with the press badge. IOF troops arrived at the area and started to disperse the demonstrators using sound bombs, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. While I was filming the scene, an IOF soldier moved towards me, took my camera and destroyed it.”

 

·      On 12 May 2006, IOF troops forced Karen Winger, correspondent of the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung, to take off her upper clothes more than once during security checking at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. Andre Marti, correspondent of the Swiss Television in Israel stated that he received a phone call from Winger. She was crying and was angry and shocked by what happened, as Israeli security forces forced her to take her clothes, except the underwear, 3 times, and to pass through a checking machine 6 times claiming that there was a failure in the machine.

 

·      On 5 May 2006, Musheer ‘Abdul Rahman Karara, a photographer of Ma’an News Agency, and Jabina Jaimen, a freelance French journalist, were violently beaten by IOF troops, when they were filming attacks by IOF troops against a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. The two journalists sustained bruises throughout their bodies.

 

·      On 1 May 2006, 1 May 2006, IOF positioned at a checkpoint in al-Sahla Street in the old town of Hebron stopped Ne’ma Mohammed al-Atrash,65, and prevented her from passing through.  They also violently beat her.  She fainted.  IOF soldiers did not offer her any medical aid.  Later, IOF held and beat her son, 34-year-old ‘Abdul Muhtadi Mohammed al-Atrash.  Three journalists arrived at the area to report on the attack: Yusri Mahmoud al-Jamal, 31, a cameraman from Associated Press; Ma’moun Isma’il Wazwaz, 30, a photographer from the local Ma’an (Together) News Agency; and ‘Emad Mohammed al-Sa’id, 34, from Reuters News Agency.  IOF attacked the three journalists and held them for one hour.  They confiscated video tapes from the cameras.  IOF released them when their agencies intervened with IOF.  

 

·      On 30 April 2006, On Sunday morning, 30 April 2006, IOF positioned near “Beit Rumano” settlement outpost in the center of Hebron abused two Palestinian journalists: ‘Abdul Hafiz al-Hashlamoun, 39, a cameraman of the German Press Agency (DPA); and Hazem Jameel Bader, 40, a cameramen of French Press Agency (AFP).  The two were photographing IOF soldiers who beat and arrested 14-year-old Salah Mohamemd al-Ja’bari, claiming that he was carrying a knife. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Hazem Bader said:

 

“At approximately 09:00 on Sunday, 30 April 2006, my colleague ‘Abdul Hafiz al-Hashlamoun and me arrived at the old town square to photograph IOF soldiers who were positioned a checkpoint near ‘Beit Rumano’ settlement outpost in the north of the old town, while they were beating and arresting 14-year-old Salah al-Ja’bari.  IOF soldiers stopped us when we were 20 meters away from the checkpoint.  They pointed their guns at us and ordered us to stop photographing.  We stopped photographing and left the area.  Other IOF soldiers threw stones at us.  A few minutes later, IOF soldiers moved towards us pointing their guns at us.  They asked us for our press cards.  When they took the cards, they threw them in the street.  They also attempted to destroy our cameras and violently beat us.  They forced us to leave the area.” 

 

·      In April 2006, IOF violently beat Nayef al-Hashlamoun, a cameraman of Reuters, when he was photographing IOF troops while violently beating another journalist near Hebron Hospital. He sustained fractures and bruises throughout the body. According to al-Hashlamoun, he received a phone call, in which he was informed that IOF troops attacked 2 Palestinian police officers near Hebron Hospital. He went to the area, where he saw IOF troops attacking a journalist and confiscating his camera. When he reached the area, IOF troops surrounded his car, which was clearly marked with the press badge. An IOF soldier opened the door and confiscated the cameral. When al-Hashalmoun asked IOF troops about the reason fro confiscating the camera, they pulled him out of the car and then violently beat him. He sustained a fracture to the chest and bruises throughout the body. He and the other journalist were taken to the hospital.

 

·      IOF beat a number of journalists and medical personnel.  In his testimony to PCHR, Ja’far Zahi Eshtayeh, 38, a cameraman from French Press, stated:

 

“At approximately 07:30 on Tuesday, 11 April 2006, I and a number of other journalists were filming the IOF operation at a house belonging to the al-Natour family near An-Najah National University, in the Rafidya neighborhood, west of Nablus.  IOF had vacated all houses and buildings near the house.  They violently beat a number of residents of these houses, especially the young men.  IOF quarreled with a number of women and violently beat them.  When we started to film these scenes, IOF ordered us to stop filming and insulted us.  I asked the officer why they insulted us.  He hit my right leg, insulted my family and ordered me to move back.  I did.  A few minutes later, I saw an Israeli soldier pulling a young man on the ground and taking him to a jeep.  I moved towards the young man to film the scene.  The officer came to me and said: ‘I told you to move away.’  I told him that I was away.  He attempted to hit my face with his gun, but I moved it away from me.  He hit my elbow.” 

 

·      On 11 March 2006, an IOF jeep also chased Yusri al-Jamal, a journalist of Reuters, and attempted to run him down in al-Shyoukh village, northeast of Hebron.  He sustained bruises to the foot.

 

·      On 4 March 2006, hundreds of Palestinian civilians organized a peaceful demonstration near Jebara checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall and restrictions on the freedom of movement.  IOF attacked the demonstrators and violently beat them.  They also violently beat 5 journalists and threatened to arrest them and confiscate their cameras if they did not leave the area. The journalists were:

 

1.      Sami Mohammed al-Sa'ei, a correspondent of Together News Agency;

2.      Mo'ayad 'Eissa al-Ashqar, a photographer of Together News Agency;

3.      Ja'far Eshtaya, a cameraman of French Press;

4.      'Abdul Rahim Qousini, a cameraman of Reuters; and

5.      Mohammed Fathi al-Far, a cameraman of the local al-Fajr Television.

·      On 3 November 2005, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp.  They opened fire indiscriminately.  A number of Palestinian children gathered and threw stones at IOF.  Immediately, IOF fired at the children.  One of the children, 11-year-old Ahmed Isma'il al-Khatib, was wounded by a live bullet to the head.  Israeli soldiers moved towards the child and moved him to an Israeli ambulance that evacuated him to an Israeli hospital.  On the following day evening, the child was pronounced dead.  According to eyewitnesses, the child was walking with his father carrying a toy gun when he was shot. IOF soldiers who were patrolling in Jenin attacked Mustafa Mohammed Khubaisa, 24, from Beeta village near Nablus, a cameraman of the Palestinian Ramattan news agency.  In his testimony to PCHR, Khubaisa said:

 

"At approximately 15:30 on Thursday, 3 November 2005, I was filming the incidents in Jenin.  I was in the Hospitals Street filming a number of Israeli military jeeps coming to the street.  I heard someone calling me.  I looked back and I saw 4 masked persons in civilian clothes only 3 meters away from me.  When they talked to me, I realized that they were members of an Israeli undercover unit.  One of them hit me on my left hand and took my camera.  Then, they all beat me and ordered me to leave the area."

 

·      On 16 September 2005, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli solidarity activists organized a peaceful demonstration in Bal'ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Wall.  IOF moved into the village and fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. 'Alaa' Badarna, 27, a cameraman from a European Press Agency, sustained a fracture to the hand as he was beaten by IOF.

 

·      IOF surrounded Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah.  They then moved into the village and surrounded the mosque before worshippers left. When the worshippers left the mosque to go to the construction site of the Annexation Wall, IOF fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. Twelve civilians, including two journalists, suffered from tear gas inhalation and they were treated on the spot. The two journalists were: Eyad al-Mughrabi, 30, a photographer of Associated Press; and Ussama Nasrallah, 28, a cameraman of al-Arabiya satellite channel.

 

·      On 21 August 2005, Israeli settlers attacked a number of Palestinian and international journalists who were reporting on IOF’s preparations to evacuate “Sanour” settlement in Jenin. They attacked ‘Alaa’ Badarna, from the European Press Agency, Ja’far Eshtayeh, from France Press, an Israeli journalist and an international one. They attacked Badarna with a rock. He sustained bruises to the arm. Israeli settlers also chased and attacked a number of international journalists. Additionally, they destroyed a camera belonging to an Israeli journalist.

 

·      On 19 August 2005, a number of Israeli settlers threw stones at the car of ‘Abdul Rahim al-Qoussini, a cameraman of the German News Agency. The car was damaged, but the journalist was not hurt.

 

·      On 6 July 2005, dozens of Palestinians civilians were observing a peaceful sit-in on lands that were targeted for razing for the purpose of the construction of the Annexation Wall in Mnaizel billage, south of Hebron.  IOF troops immediately attacked the protestors.  Two people were wounded, including ‘Abdul Hafeez al-Hashlamoun, 32, a photographer with German News Agency. 

 

·      On 30 June 2005, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international solidarity activists organized a peaceful demonstration in Arab al-Ramadin village, southwest of Hebron, in protest to the construction of the section of the Annexation Wall in the area.  IOF fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the demonstrators.  Then, they attacked the demonstrators.  Four demonstrators, including a Scottish solidarity activist, were injured.  In addition, four journalists were also injured: Hussam Abu 'Allan, working for ABC News Agency and Palestine News Agency (Wafa); Nayef al-Hashlamoun, from Reuters; Ma'moun Wazwaz, from Reuters; and 'Abdul Hafeez al-Hashlamoun, from the German News Agency. 

 

·      On 14 May 2005, IOF troops attacked staff members of the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) when they were reporting on the seizure of a house in Hebron by Israeli settlers. Reporter Nisreen Selmi, cameraman Ahmed Jalajel and sound technician Ma’moun Siam were taken into “Tal Rumaida” settlement, where Israeli settlers also attacked them. Jalajel sustained bruises to the right leg, and Siam sustained bruises to the left hand.

 

·      On 25 April 2005, IOF prevented 'Awad 'Awad, 38, a cameraman of France Press, from photographing near Shu'fat checkpoint in Jerusalem. When refused to obey the order to stop photographing, IOF severely beat him and held him for several hours in a room near the checkpoint. IOF then took him to an Israeli police station in Jerusalem and interrogated him. He was released in the evening.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, ‘Awad stated:

 

“Journalists ‘Ata ‘Owaisat and ‘Ammar ‘Awad and I arrived at Shu’fat checkpoint leading to Jerusalem, where IOF troops were attacking dozens of women, children and old people who were attempting to pass through the checkpoint towards Jerusalem. IOF troops ordered us not to photographer, but we did not obey the order. An IOF soldier took my identity card and he then violently pushed me into a small room near the checkpoint. He violently beat me and told me that I was under arrest. Soon after, he attempted to handcuff me, but I resisted. He resumed beating me. Later, an IOF vehicle took me to an Israeli police station, where I was held for several hours. I was interrogated there as the IOF soldier claimed that I attacked him.”

 

·      On 24 April 2005, IOF troops violently beat ‘Abdul Hafeez al-Hashlamoun, a cameraman of the German News Agency, when he was photographing the shooting of a Palestinian civilian by IOF at the northern entrance of Hebron. Al-Hashlamoun was injured in the head. IOF troops prevented ambulances from attending the wounded civilians and also prevented journalists from photographing the scene.

 

·      On 21 April 2005, ‘Abbas al-Moumani, a cameraman of France Press, suffered from tear gas inhalation, when IOF troops fired tear gas canisters at a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international solidarity activists in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. On the same day, Lu’ai Abu Haikal, a cameraman of Reuters, suffered from tear gas inhalation, when IOF troops fired tear gas canisters at a peaceful demonstration organized in Safa village, west of Ramallah. The two demonstrations were organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 27 March 2005, IOF troops violently beat 3 journalists while photographing IOF troops beating a number of Palestinian civilians in Hebron: Ma’moun Wazwaz, working for Reuters; Nayef al-Hashlamoun, working for Reuters; and ‘Abdul Hafeez al-Hashlamoun, working for the European Press Agency. 

 

·      On 18 March 2005, Ian Rick, working for Associated Press, suffered from tear gas inhalation, when he reporting on attacks by IOF troops against a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 5 December 2004, hundreds of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli peace activists organized a peaceful demonstration on the land of Beit Oula village, northwest of Hebron. Israeli troops attacked the demonstrators and severely beat them.  A number of demonstrators sustained bruises and injuries.  Israeli troops also beat a Palestinian journalist, Yusri Mohammed al-Jamal, a cameraman of Reuters from Hebron.

 

·      On 6 September 2004, a female Israeli settler attacked Ja’far Eshtayeh, a cameraman of France Press, with an empty bottle near Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus. He was injured in the head and his camera was damaged. According to Eshtayeh, the attack took place before the eyes of IOF troops. Eshtayeh was photographing in the area, when a number of female Israeli settlers arrived at the checkpoint and attempted to prevent him from photographing.

 

·      On 13 August 2004, IOF troops violently beat Ja’far Eshtayeh, working for France Press, when he was reporting on clashed between Palestinian civilians and IOF troops in al-Zawia village near Nablus. Palestinian civilians were protesting the construction of the Annexation Wall on their lands. Eshtayeh received first medical aid on the spot and he was then taken to Rafidya Hospital in Nablus.

 

·      On 3 August 2004, a journalist working for the European Press Agency suffered from tear gas inhalation, when IOF troops fired tear gas canisters at a number of international solidarity activists who demonstrated in Shwaika suburb, north of Tulkarm, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall.

 

·      On 26 June 2004, ‘Ata ‘Owaisat, a cameraman of France Press, was violently beaten by IOF troops when he was reporting a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in al-Ram town, north of Jerusalem, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. IOF troops used force to disperse the demonstrators and arrested a number of them.

 

·      On 19 May 2004, IOF troops fired a tear gas canister at ‘Alaa’ Badarna, working for the European Press Agecny, and Nasser Eshtayeh, a cameraman of Reuters, when they were reporting on an IOF incursion into ‘Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus.

 


 

Detention and Holding of Journalists

 

During the reporting period, dozens of journalists were detained or held by IOF troops. Some journalists were held and interrogated for a few hours, whereas others were detained for months or even years, including under administrative detention. PCHR does not have a full documentation of such cases, nor does it have evidence that all such detentions were directly or indirectly related to the journalistic work. Nevertheless, PCHR asserts that such detentions negatively affected journalists’ work. In this section of the report, a number of cases in which journalists were detained because of their journalistic work.

 

Detention

 

·      On 6 October 2006, IOF troops arrested ‘Emad Bernat, working for Reuters and the Public Committee against the Wall and Settlement, when he was reporting on an IOF incursion into Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. IOF troops also violently beat him. Bernat was detained for 3 weeks. An Israeli military court decided in a third session to consider Bernat’s case to release him, but at the same time, to keep him under house arrest for 40 days.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Bernat stated:

 

“At approximately 16:00 on 6 October 2006, I left my house in Bal’ein village, west for Ramallah to report on an incursion into the village by IOF troops. I started photographing IOF troops firing rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at houses in the center of the village. An IOF officer ordered me to stop photographing and leave the area, but I refused. He asked me for my press card and I gave it to him. He then took my camera and forced me to get into a military jeep. The jeep moved to an undisclosed destination. While we were traveling, 2 IOF soldiers violently beat me over my body. I had a cut near my left eye and I felt severe pains. The jeep stopped for a while near ‘Kiryat Sefer’ checkpoint, soon headed to ‘Moda’in’ police station. I was then taken to a site of IOF. There, IOF troops attempted to force me to take off my clothes, which had been blood stained, as I was violently beaten, but I rejected that. I was taken to Hadassa Hospital in East Jerusalem, where I received medical treatment. Soon after, I was taken to ‘Givat Ze’ev’ police station. There, a female police officer started to interrogate me. She was attempting to acquit IOF troops of attacking me and accuse me of attacking them, including beating one of them. At approximately 04:00 on the following day, I was taken to ‘Etzion’ detention center near Bethlehem, where I was detained for 14 days. During that period I was appeared before the Israeli military court in ‘Oufar’ twice. The court ordered my release, by the military prosecutor appealed against the order. I was then transferred to Oufar detention center, where I spent a third week. In the end of the third week, I appeared before an Israeli military court, which decided my release on bail, and decided to place me under house arrest for 40 days. The case is still open. I submitted a complaint to the Israeli military police against IOF soldiers who arrested and beat me, but I have received no response so far.”

 

·      On 1 May 2006, IOF raided a house belonging to ‘Alaa’ al-Titi, corresponded of the local al-Resala newspaper, in al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and arrested him. On 19 October 2006, an Israeli military court sentenced al-Titi for one year in prison and to pay a fine of 2,000 NIS (approximately US$ 500).

 

·      On 23 January 2006, IOF arrested Mustafa Sabri, correspondent of Palestine News Network and members of the municipal council of Qalqilya. IOF raided his house and arrested him. He was taken to Hawara detention center, south of Nablus. On 4 February 2006, IOF transferred Sabri to Hadarim Prison and renewed his detention for 12 days. Sabri was released later in 2006.

 

·      On 30 November 2005, IOF raided a house belonging to ‘Awad al-Rajoub, correspondent of aljazeera.net, in Dura village, south of Hebron, and arrested him. They also confiscated his personal computer and mobile phone. Al-Rajoub was interrogated for 48 days at al-Maskoubiya detention center. He was then transferred to Ashkelon Prison. He was released in May 2006.

 

·      On 2 October 2005, IOF arrested Anas Mohammed al-Halaiqa, correspondent of the local al-Resala newspaper, from al-Shyoukh village east of Hebron. He was taken to Oufar detention center. In May 2006, he was sentenced by an Israeli military court to 14 months in prison and to pay a fine of 1500 NIS (approximately US$ 375).

 

·      On 26 September 2005, IOF arrested Nizar Ramadan, Director of Future Association for Studies, Publication and Media, from Hebron. Ramadan was nominated for candidature to the Palestinian legislative elections, which were held on 26 January 2006, on behalf of the Change and Reform Bloc and he was elected. His association provided daily reports and news to a number of local, Arab and international media institutions.

 

·      On 25 September 2005, IOF raided a house belonging to Na’el Nakhla, correspondent of the local al-Quds daily, in Shaqba village northwest of Ramallah, and arrested him. On 3 October 2005, IOF placed him under administrative detention for 7 months. He was released on 23 April 2006.

 

·      On 14 August 2005, IOF arrested Mohammed Zaytoun al-Halaiqa, from al-Shyoukh village east of Hebron. They placed him under administrative detention for 4 months after an Israeli military court had ordered his release. On 16 March 2006, the period of his administrative detention was renewed for additional 6 months that were decreased later to 4 months.

 

·      On 13 March 2005, IOF troops positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, arrested journalist Fareed al-Sayed, when he was on his way to Nablus for a media activity. On 8 September 2005, an Israeli military court sentenced him to 2 years in prison.

 

·      On 11 October 2004, IOF troops positioned at checkpoint at the entrance of Jericho arrested journalist Jamal Ibrahim Farraj, from al-Duhaisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem, when he was traveling back home. Later, IOF placed him under administrative detention for 6 months. IOF renewed the period of his detention several times based on secret charges presented against him by the Israeli Internal Security Service. On 18 February 2007, IOF renewed the administration detention of Farraj for additional 4 months.

 

·      In May 2004, IOF troops arrested ‘Asri Fayad, Director of Jenin Center for Media and Studies, from Jenin refugee camp. In July 2004, IOF placed Fayad under administrative detention for 6 months. The period of his detention was renewed for 9 times. He was released on 18 February 2007 after spending 36 months in prison.

 

·      On 3 April 2004, IOF troops arrested Sami al-‘Aassi, a correspondent of an-Najah National University Radio and a cameraman of the local Nablus Television, and Suhail Khalaf, correspondent of the local al-Quds daily, when they covering clashes in Nablus following an Israeli incursion into the city. IOF had moved into Nablus on 2 April 2004 and imposed a curfew. This military operation continued until Saturday evening, 3 April 2004. During the operation, IOF arrested 29 Palestinian civilians, including the two aforementioned journalists and a girl. IOF took the two journalists to Hawara detention center to the south of Nablus. On 8 April 2004, IOF released journalist Suhail Khalaf. Al-‘Aassi was held under interrogation for more than a month and a half. He was then placed under administrative detention for 6 months at Ansar 3 (the Negev) Prison inside Israel. Al-‘Aassi’s detention was renewed several times.

Holding

 

·      On 1 June 2007, IOF troops held ‘Abdul Hafeez al-Hashlamoun, a cameraman of the European Press Agency, when he was filming attacks by IOF troops against dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders in al-Hamra area in Bani Na'im village, southeast of Hebron, nearly 500 meters away from "Bnei Hefer" settlement, to protest the closure and confiscation of Palestinian agricultural land in the area. IOF expelled al-Hashlamoun from the area claiming that it was “a closed military zone.” It is worth noting that IOF closed at least 1,500 donums of land in Bani Na'im and al-Bwaib villages as a step towards confiscating them for the purpose of settlement expansion.

 

·      On 12 May 2007, IOF troops positioned at Rantis checkpoint near Ramallah, held an interrogated Mohammed al-Sayed, correspondent of Palestine Television in occupied Jerusalem. Al-Sayed was released 4 hours later.

 

·      On 27 February 2007, IOF attacked members of an Italian cinema crew in Hebron. Members of the crew were making a documentary film on the suffering of Palestinian children in Hebron. The crew included two Italians and 5 Palestinians. IOF troops positioned at a checkpoint in al-Shuhada Street in the center of Hebron stopped members of the crew and held them from two hours. During this time, Israeli settlers harassed them. One of the settlers got close to the detained crew and provoked its members. He then claimed that a member of the crew, Ra’ed Jihad al-Hilu, 32, attacked him. IOF troops called the Israeli police, which arrested al-Hilu and took him to an Israeli police station. When other members of the crew were released by IOF, they went to police station. However, they had to wait for long hours before the police informed them that al-Hilu would be released on bail and that they had to pay it. Members of the crew paid the bail, but the police did not give them a notice of receipt. The police claimed that there was no post to stamp the bill. One of the Italian members of the crew was forced to travel to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv to pay the bill and then come back to the police station. Al-Hilu was released at 03:30 on 28 February 2007.

 

·      On 22 April 2007, IOF chased a vehicle of the Palestinian Customs Bureau on bypass road #60, northeast of Hebron. Four civil employees were traveling in the vehicle. They were in a work tour to border crossing to ensure that banned goods are not entered into Palestinian markets. An IOF military jeep intercepted the vehicle. IOF troops forced the employees out of the vehicle and held and humiliated them although they knew their identities and the nature of their work. IOF also held ‘Abdul Hafiz Diab al-Hashlamoun, 42, a cameraman of APA news agency, when he arrived to the area to photograph the detention and humiliation of the customs employees. They also confiscated his camera and removed the films. Later, IOF released him, but handed to him a notice to refer to the Israeli police in “Kiryat Arba” settlement, south of Hebron.

 

·      Also on 22 April 2007, IOF troops positioned at Tarqoumia crossing, northwest of Hebron, stopped and detained Fahmi Shahin, a PCHR field worker, and Hussam Abu ‘Allan, a journalist, when they arrived at the area to photograph new installations established by IOF at the crossing, which is expected to be transformed into an international one. IOF troops checked their identity cards and cameras several times. Two hours later, IOF troops released Shahin and Abu ‘Allan.

 

·      On 10 February 2007, IOF troops positioned at a checkpoint in the old town of Hebron stopped, checked and interrogated a number of Palestinian civilians. At the same time, IOF troops held and beat ‘Abdul Hafeez al-Hashlamoun, a cameraman of the European Press Agency, claiming that he was photographing in a closed military zone.

 

·      On 12 October 2006, IOF troops held Mahmoud Khlouf, correspondent of Palestine News Agency (Wafa) in Nablus, for more than 2 hours when he was reporting on attacks by IOF troops against Palestinian civilians.

 

·      On 24 September 2006, IOF troops positioned at Qalandya checkpoint, south of Ramallah, held a media crew of Dubai Television comprised of: Shorouq As’ad, correspondent; Ahmed Jalajel, cameraman; and Mohammed Sarhan, sound technician. They were preparing a media report about Israeli measures at checkpoints. IOF troops checked them and their equipment several times. IOF troops then took them to a police station in Jerusalem for interrogation, and released them 3 hours later.

 

In her testimony to PCHR, Shorouq As’ad stated:

 

“I was with a media crew of Dubai Television preparing a report on how to travel to Jerusalem focusing on the suffering of Palestinian civilians at Israeli military checkpoints between the West Bank and Jerusalem. We were traveling in a car clearly marked with the press badge and we were photographing from inside the car near Qalandya checkpoint, south of Ramallah. An IOF soldiers positioned at the checkpoint intercepted us and ordered us to stop photographing. We stopped near him. We informed him that we are a media crew. I handed my press card and the special card issued by the Israeli Media Bureau (Beit Hagaron). He checked the two cards and handed them back to me. However, a number of female IOF soldiers moved towards us and started insulting us. They pushed and hit us. Soon after, IOF soldiers held us in our car at the checkpoint for two hours for no apparent reason. A number of IOF soldiers and intelligence officers checked us and searched the car several times. IOF soldiers then took is to a detention center. On our way to the detention center, I phoned the Israeli Media Bureau, which is supposed to help us and remove any obstacle that may face us as journalists. I explained what happened with us and submitted a complaint. Nevertheless, the Israeli Media Bureau ignored us claiming that the problem was a security one. At the detention center, IOF interrogated us for 3 hours. I submitted a complaint against IOF soldiers positioned at the checkpoint, but I have not received any response so far.”

 

·      On 29 June 2006, IOF troops held a media crew of Ramattan News Agency in Ramallah comprised of: Raja’ei Mohammed, a cameraman; Mohammed Naji, a producer; and Fadi ‘Eid, a sound technician. The journalists were reporting on an IOF incursion into the town, during which IOF troops arrested a number of Palestinian ministers and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. IOF held the crew for nearly an hour, and prevented its members from doing their job.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Raja’ei Hamad stated:

 

“I went together with an agency’s crew to Um al-Sharayet neighborhood in Ramallah to report on arresting a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from his house by IOF. We were traveling in a vehicle belonging to the agency, clearly marked with the press badge. When we got close to the area, IOF troops stopped us. An IOF soldier pointed his gun at me and forced me to get out of the vehicle and lie on the ground. He kicked my camera moving it away from m. I said to him: ‘Why are you doing so? I am a journalist and you cannot treat me this way.’ I was wearing a bulletproof suit clearly marked with the press badge. The soldier prepared his gun for shooting and pointed it at me, saying: ‘Shut up or otherwise I will kill you!’ IOF troop held us lying on the ground for nearly an hour.”

 

On that day, IOF arrested 9 Palestinian ministers and 21 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing the Change and Reform Bloc affiliated to Hamas, as well as a number of political leaders of the movement.

 

·      On 30 March 2006, IOF troops held journalists Nasser ‘Abdul Jawad Saleh and Mohammed Abu Khudair while they were reporting on attacks by IOF troops against dozens of Palestinian civilians who gathered in al-Zahraa’ Street in East Jerusalem to commemorate the Land Day. They took the two journalists to a detention center in West Jerusalem for interrogation. IOF released the two journalists later.

 

·      On 17 December 2005, IOF troops held 3 journalists near “Beit Hagai” settlement, southwest of Hebron, who were reporting on measures of collective punishment taken by IOF against the population of the town after a settler had been killed and 2 others had been injured near the aforementioned settlement. The journalists are: Hazem Bader, a cameraman of France Press; Yusri al-Jamal, a cameraman of Reuters; and Nasser al-Shyoukhi, a cameraman of Associated Press.

 

·      On 15 December 2005, IOF troops held Saif al-Dahla, a photographer of Palestine News Agency (Wafa) at a checkpoint between Jenin and Nablus for several hours. They prevented al-Dahla from passing through the checkpoint. Al-Dahla photographed attacks by IOF troops against Palestinian civilians at the checkpoint. IOF troops took his camera and held him for about 4 hours. They then confiscated the memory card of the camera and give it back to him.

 

·      On 1 July 2005, IOF troops positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, held ‘Aatef Daghlas, a reporters at an-Najah Press Office, and Waddah Abu Sha’ar, correspondent of Quds Press. They insulted and violently beat Abu Sha’ar, and checked Daghlas’ laptop. IOF troops then slapped Daghlas.

 

·      At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 22 February 2005, a number of Palestinian journalists were filming the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, nearly one kilometre away from Tarqoumia crossing, west of Hebron.  IOF chased and expelled these journalists from the area.  When the journalists decided to resume their work, IOF detained 3 of them for nearly an hour.  The three journalists are: Yusri al-Jamal; Ma'moun Wazwaz; and Hussam Abu 'Allan, cameramen of Reuters and ABC.  

 

·      On 17 January 2005, IOF troops positioned at the Container checkpoint near Jerusalem held 3 journalists from the local al-Ayyam daily when they were on their way to Ramallah. Na’ela Khalil, Hiba al-Tahham and Tariq Sa’ada were traveling from Hebron where they had covered the proceedings of a conference organized by Defense for Children International. After holding them for 3 hours, IOF released Khalil as she holds a West Bank identity, but continued to hold al-Tahhan and Sa’ada because they hold Jerusalem identity cards. IOF troops then took the two journalists to a detention center in “Ma’ale Adomim” settlement for interrogation. They released them at night, but ordered them to come back on the following day to be further interrogated for being in an area which is banned for Jerusalemites.

 

·      On 24 August 2004, IOF troops held 4 journalists while doing their job in Bethlkehem: Zakaria Salah; Mohammed Abu Ghaniya; ‘Awni Jubran; and Samer Hamad. The journalists were reporting on storming the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem by IOF troops. The journalists were held for more than an hour.

 

·      On 12 August 2004, IOF held a media crew of BBC in a room on the roof of a house in Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus, for 4 hours. Members of the crew were on their way to conduct an interview with an old Palestinian woman, who had been held by IOF troops inside her home.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Dr. Ghassan Hamdan, Director of the Palestinian Union of Medical Relief Committees in Nablus, stated:

 

“A nurse, a BBC media crew and I were on hour way to a building in Balata refugee camp, where IOF had been holding an 82-year-old woman in a deserted room on the roof of a the building. When we mounted up, I tried to draw the attention of IOF troops that were are medics and journalists and we came to offer medical treatment to the old lady as she was sick. Before finishing my talk, an IOF soldier moved towards me and violently caught my suit, which was clearly showing that I am a medic. The journalists were filming the scene. When IOF troops saw the camera, the pulled the cameraman and took its tape out. When the journalists attempted to intervene, IOF troops pointed their guns at them and held them in the room for more than 3 hours and a half.”     

 

On the following day, 13 August 2004, Nick Springate, BBC Chief of Middle East Bureau, stated that the Israeli military arrested 3 BBC reporters while interviewing a Palestinian medic and an old woman in Nablus. He added that, the journalists, including Orla Guerin, went to a house in Nablus to conduct an interview when Israeli troops stopped and held them under gunpoint for 4 hours. He further stated that Israeli troops fired from the house at nearby area, which might have endangered the lives of the journalists by possible return of fire. Sringate pointed out that Israeli troops confiscated video tapes and mobile homes of the journalists, depriving them of any means of communication with their agency.

 


 

Restrictions on Movement

 

Restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement are a form of collective punishment practiced by IOF against Palestinian civilians in the OPT. Journalists face extreme difficulties in reaching placed of incidents to carry out their jobs. Restrictions on the movement of journalists include: Denial of traveling abroad; denial of movement between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; denial of movement from one area to another in the West Bank by military checkpoints; and denial of access to places of incidents. Restrictions on press freedoms also including denial of entering Palestinian newspapers published in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, into the Gaza Strip.

Denial of Access to Scenes of Incidents

 

·      On 18 May 2007, a number of Palestinian farmers and international and Israeli solidarity activists organized a peaceful demonstration in Bani Na’im village, southeast of Hebron, in protest to Israeli settlement activities, including the closure and confiscation of land. IOF used force against the demonstrators. A journalist was violently beaten by IOF soldiers, who also detained 5 demonstrators for several hours. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 10:30 on Friday, 18 May 2007, dozens of Palestinian civilians and a number of international and Israeli solidarity activists peacefully demonstrated and attempted to reach Palestinian agricultural land in Bani Na’im village, southeast of Hebron. IOF, accompanied by a number of Israeli settlers, arrived at the area and surrounded the demonstrators and started to pull them away from the area. IOF soldiers also prevented journalists form covering their attacks against the demonstrators, and forced them out of the area. They also pushed a journalist, Ma’moun Isma’il Wazwaz, 32, onto the ground. He sustained bruises. IOF soldiers also detained 5 demonstrators for several hours. 

 

·      On 2 March 2007, IOF prevented Fat’hi Barahma, correspondent of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, ‘Abdul Rahman Qassem, correspondent of Palestinian News Agency (Wafa), and ‘Emad Abu Sunbol, correspondent of the local al-Hayat al-Jadeeda daily, from covering a meeting between Palestinian President Mahoud ‘Abbas and Chairman of the Israeli Labor Party, Ameer Perets, at al-Karama International Crossing Point. IOF claimed that the three journalists do not have press cards issued by the Israeli Press Bureau (Beit Hagaron).

 

·      On 30 August 2005, IOF prevented Khalil Rayash, correspondent of Ma’an News Agency, and Mahmoud al-Shanti, a cameraman of Reuters, from entering Ras Teera village, southeast of Qalqilya, to cover a visit by a member of the Israeli Knesset to the village.

 

·      On 20 August 2004, IOF prevented a media crew of al-Jazeera Satellite Channel from entering the yards of the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to record an episode of a television program, although the crew obtained permission to record the program. The broadcasting was cancelled. The episode was supposed to discuss Israeli attacks against the al-Aqsa Mosque and the hunger strike organized by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

 

·      In the same context, on several occasions, IOF prevented entering Palestinian newspapers issued in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, into the Gaza Strip.

Denial of Traveling

 

·      On 16 March 2007, IOF prevented Sami Abu Salem, working for Palestine News Agency (Wafa), and Hassan Jaber, working for the local al-Ayyam daily, from pssing through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to participate in meetings with officials of the European Union in Jerusalem.

 

·      On Thursday, 14 September 2006, IOF positioned at al-Karama International Crossing Point on the Jordanian border held for several hours journalist Suleiman ‘Aaref Bisharat, 26, from Tammoun village southeast of Jenin, when he intended to travel to Jordan and then Egypt to receive higher education. They prevented him from traveling and forced him to travel back to his village.

 

·      On 3 September 2005, IOF troops positioned at Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border, prevented ‘Abdul Ghani al-Shami, 31, correspondent of Quds Press, from traveling to Jordan because of his age. IOF had prevented Palestinians aged 16-35 from traveling through the crossing point.

 

·      On 24 July 2005, IOF prevented journalist Ameen Abu Warda from traveling to Jordan through al-Karama International Crossing Point to attend an honor party organized for him for ending his service at Quds Press. IOF troops held him for at least 6 hours before forcing him to travel back home.

 

·      On 13 August 2004, IOF prevented ‘Aadel al-Za’noun, working for France Press, from traveling to Egypt on his way to Sweden because of his age. IOF had prevented Palestinians aged 16-35 from traveling through the crossing point.

 


 

Confiscation of Media Equipment

 

·      In September 2006, an IOF soldier held Emad Bernat, a cameraman of Reuters, when he was filming attacks by IOF troops against Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders who demonstrated in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall. He attempted to prevent Bernat from filming the scene, but Bernat did not stop. The soldier then pushed Bernat onto the ground and broke his camera.

 

·      On 19 April 2006, IOF troops confiscated the camera of Nasser Eshtayeh, a cameraman of Associated Press, while he was filming an Israeli incursion into Nablus.

 

·      On 23 October 2004, IOF troops confiscated the camera and mobile phones of Majdi Eshtayeh, a cameraman of Associated Press, when he was near “Allon Moreh” settlement near Nablus. They claimed that Eshtayeh was photographing in a closed military zone.

 


 

Attacks against Media Institutions

 

Such attacks include storming, searching, closing or firing at media institutions.

 

·      On 25 February 2007, during a military operation in Nablus called “Hot Winter,” IOF raided a number of local television and radio stations, through which they broadcasted statements inciting against Palestinian resistance groups. On the following day, IOF arrested Sheikh Nabegh Nafez Braik, 43, the owner and manager of Sanabel Television. According to his wife, IOF raided the building of the television station, arrested her husband and confiscated a number of computer sets and video recorders and cassettes. Braik was released on 13 March 2007. IOF troops also prevented journalists from reporting on this operation. They fired tear gas canisters at a number of journalists, and confiscated a video tape from the camera of ‘Omar Mohammed ‘Afana, working for the local Asia Television.

 

·      On 25 November 2006, IOF troops opened fire at the building of the local al-Aqsa Television of Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip. The building was damaged and broadcasting stopped.

 

·      In November 2006, IOF troops raided offices of Manbar al-Islah newspaper in Ramallah. They confiscated some of the equipment and ordered the closure of the newspaper for two years.

 

·      On 13 November 2006, IOF raided and searched the building of al-Ro’a Television in Bethlehem.

 

·      On 12 November 2006, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They broke into Da’bas Mall near Tulkarm Hospital. They raided offices of the Palestinian Center for Media and Studeis (Mass Press) on the second floor of the building, destroyed their contents and closed them. IOF troops confiscated two computer sets, television camera and a satellite receiver. It is worth noting that Mal Press provides media training courses. IOF ordered the closure of the center for an unspecified period.

 

·      On 1 August 2006, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They patrolled in the streets and imposed a curfew on parts of the town. They raided and searched offices of a number of civil institutions. They broke Da’bas Mall in the north of the town, and raided and searched Palestinian Media and Studies Center. They confiscated 11 computer sets, some files and an amount of money from the center.

 

·      On 19 July 2006, IOF moved into al-Bireh. They raided and searched offices of Palestine News Agency (Wafa) in the northwest of the town.  They damaged the offices. 

 

·      On 30 June 2006, an IOF helicopter gunship fired a missile at al-Sahawa Cultural Society of Hamas in Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The center of was severely damaged. 

 

·      On 27 February 2006, IOF raided and searched the building of al-Horriya Radio in Hebron. They held staff members of the radio station in one room and confiscated some documents. The building was also damaged. No arrests were reported. 

 

·      On 15 December 2005, IOF moved into 'Ein Sara Street in the north of Hebron.  They surrounded al-Esraa' building.  Then, they raided and searched the office of Future for Studies and Media.  They confiscated a computer set and damaged the office. The Association provides daily reports and news to a number of local, Arab and international media institutions.

 

·      On 10 July 2005, IOF raided and searched the office of al-Hayat al-Jadeeda daily in Hebron.

 

·      On 24 May 2005, IOF raided and searched the building of the Qura’an Radio in Ramallah. They confiscated the equipment and closed the building, claiming that the radio station was illegal.

 

·      On 1 September 2004, IOF raided and searched offices of the Palestinian Ministry of Information in the northwest of Hebron. They interrogated the staff. IOF also raided and searched a number of offices in the same building and held at least 20 Palestinian civilians, including 3 journalists. They left the building after summoning a number of those civilians for interrogation.

 

·      On 29 June 2004, Israeli helicopter Gunships fired 4 missiles at al-Jeel press office in Gaza City.  This continued policy of silencing the media to prevent it from reporting on violations of human rights targeted this times an office owned and managed by Mustafa al-Sawaf on the third floor of al-Shawa and Husari building in al-Wahada street, Gaza City.  Three missiles directly struck the office, destroying its contents. The fourth missile hit the offices of Gaza Electricity Generation Company on the fourth floor and severally damaged them.  The affected building includes the offices of a number of international and local media offices, including the BBC, and many offices of lawyers and companies. One of the missiles that struck al-Jeel press office penetrated into the second floor office of Darwish al-Wehaidi.  Lawyer ‘Omar al-Bursh’s office on the third floor was also damaged. In addition, offices of a number of media institutions, including the German ARD on the fifth floor, which is managed by Zakaria al-Talmas, and Ramattan Company for Media Production on the ninth floor, were damaged.  A number of civilian cars near the building, including that of ‘Azmi al-Qishawi, correspondent of the French TV Channel 2, were also damaged. Mr. al-Sawaf told PCHR that no one was in the office at the time of the attacks.  Two Palestinian civilians were lightly injured.  Al-Jeel press office provides media services for a number of media institutions, including the website of Islam Online.

 

·      On 2 July 2004, IOF troops raided offices of Manbar al-Islah newspaper in Ramallah. They confiscated the equipment and all documents.

 

·      On 16 May 2004, an Israeli helicopter gunship fired a missile at offices of al-Resala weekly on the first floor of a 10-storey building in al-Nasser neighborhood in Gaza City.  The missile struck the offices, destroyed their contents, and two Palestinian civilians living in the area were injured.

 

·      On 2 May 2004, IOF helicopter gunships fired 3 missiles at the headquarters of al-Aqsa Radio of Hamas on the upper floor of Palestine Building in the center of Gaza City. Two missiles hit the headquarters and the third one hit the roof of the building. The southeastern façade of the building was heavily damaged. Offices of the radio station were also heavily damaged, but no casualties were reported. Windows of a number of apartments in the building were broken and a number of civilians were shocked.

     

 

 

 

 

PCHR’s Notes

 

1.    PCHR considers these practices against journalists as part of the ongoing Israeli abuses against Palestinian civilians.  PCHR also considers it evidence of Israeli disregard for international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

 

2.    Most attacks by the Israeli forces against the local and international press agencies were willful and intentional, especially since members of the press wear clearly marked attire.  The attacks are designed to prevent the objective coverage of incidents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

 

3.    These attacks are part of a systematic Israeli policy of isolating the OPT so as to allow further action against Palestinian civilians.

 

4.    PCHR calls on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to meet their obligations under the Convention and immediately provide international protection for the Palestinian people.

 

5.    PCHR calls on all international media to intervene and to exert pressure on Israel to stop its forces’ attacks on journalists and to provide the proper climate for practice of their profession without restriction.  

 

 

 

 


 

[1] IOF also have restricted access of international journalists to the OPT, especially the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to isolate the OPT from the outside world and hide facts about violations of human rights they perpetrate against Palestinian civilians. 

[2] For more details, see previous reports.

[3] In September 2006, IOF evacuated all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, including “Nitzarim” settlement, in the context of the “Disengagement Plan.”

[4] On 16 March 2003, an IOF bulldozer deliberately ran down Rachel Corrie when she and other international peace activists attempted to prevent it from demolishing Palestinian houses in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.