Silencing the Press

 

 Report on Israeli Attacks against Journalists

 

01 Nov. 2007 – 31 Aug. 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

  


 

 

“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 (1948)

 

  1. “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.”
  2. “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, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).

 

  1. “Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians …”
  2. “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, Paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol I)

 


 

Introduction

 

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

 

In light of the attacks carried out by IOF against journalists and media institutions working in the OPT, PCHR has issued a series of reports, “Silencing the Press,” which documents attacks by IOF and Israeli settlers against local and international journalists and media institutions in the OPT. 

 

This report is the 12th in an ongoing series of “Silencing the Press” reports issued by PCHR.  It covers the period from 1 November 2007 through 31 August 2009, and includes the recent Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, codenamed “Operation Cast Lead”, that took place between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009.  During the offensive there was a significant escalation of IOF attacks and violations against journalists and employees of local and international press agencies and media institutions. 

 

This report is aimed at documenting the attacks by IOF and Israeli settlers against journalists and media institutions working in the OPT.  It includes detailed accounts of all IOF attacks on journalists and media institutions, as documented by PCHR. This documentation is supported by testimonies from victims and eyewitnesses and by field investigations.  PCHR’s investigations refute many IOF claims regarding certain crimes, including opening fire at journalists.  PCHR believes that these crimes were committed willfully using excessive lethal force, without taking into consideration the principles of distinction and proportionality, and that these crimes were not justified by military necessity. 

 

The reporting period witnessed 237 attacks by IOF against journalists and media institution, including: violations of journalists’ right to life and right to safety and security of person; beating journalists and subjecting them to other means of violence and humiliating and degrading treatment; arresting and holding journalists; denying journalist access to certain areas and preventing them from covering certain incidents; confiscation of media equipment and devices; bombarding or raiding media centers and misusing their contents; preventing journalists from traveling abroad; and raiding journalists’ houses. 

 

The report also documents IOF's crimes against journalists and staff of media institutions during the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, despite the protection granted to them by the international law.  During the offensive, IOF killed two Palestinian journalists while on duty, while another two Palestinian journalists were killed due to the excessive use of lethal force against civilians and due to indiscriminate bombardments.  In addition, nine journalists were wounded while on duty as a result of bombardments that targeted media offices or civilian establishments.  Two media crews were detained by IOF who fired at them.  Further, five media offices were bombarded by IOF. 

 

Crimes of violation of the right to life and the right to safety and security of person are the most significant violations committed by IOF against journalists and staff of different media institutions.  During the reporting period, PCHR documented the killing of three Palestinian journalists at the hands of IOF while covering IOF’s crimes against Palestinian civilians in the OPT[2].  Since 28 September 2000, IOF have killed eleven journalists while on duty in the OPT. 

 

Table (1): Journalists Killed by IOF while on duty

 

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

Fadel Subhi Shana’a

23

Gaza

Cameraman of Reuters

(REUTERS)

16 April 2008

Juhr al-Diq village

‘Umar Abdul Hafez al-Silawi

28

Gaza

Al-Aqsa Space Channel

3 January 2009

Jabalia Refugee Camp

Basel Ibrahim Faraj

22

Gaza

Algerian TV. 

6 January 2009

Gaza city

 

During the reporting period, IOF fired at journalists in 68 cases, wounding 52 of them.  The same period witnessed 32 cases in which IOF beat journalists and subjected them to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; 60 cases in which journalists were arrested and held; 32 cases in which journalists were denied their right to carry out their job; 15 cases in which press cards and media equipment and materials were confiscated; 23 cases in which media institutions were bombarded or raided and searched; 2 cases in which journalists were prevented from traveling abroad; and 3 cases in which houses of journalists were raided and searched. 

 

According to PCHR’s documentation, between 28 September 2000 and 31 August 2009, IOF committed 1,019 attacks and violations against journalists and staff of local and international media institutions.  It should be noted that there are dozens of attacks that were not documented.  From the beginning of the current al-Aqsa Intifada till 31 August 2009, IOF fired at journalists in 303 cases, wounding 223 of them.  The same period witnessed 207 cases in which IOF beat journalists and subjected them to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; 249 cases in which journalists were arrested and held; 66 cases in which journalists were denied their right to carry out their job; 68 cases in which press cards and media equipment and materials were confiscated; 94 cases in which media institutions were bombarded or raided and searched; 11 cases in which journalists were prevented from traveling abroad; and 14 cases in which houses of journalists were raided and searched.

 

Table (2): Israeli Attacks on Journalists

28 September 2000 – 31 August 2009

 

Kind of attack

29 Sept.  – 31 Dec.  2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

 

2008

31 August 2009

Total

Shooting attacks resulting in death

Nil

2

3

2

1

Nil

Nil

Nil

1

2

11

Shooting attacks resulting in injuries

22

33

34

8

18

7

26

28

29

18

223

Shooting without causing casualties

4

17

17

6

11

Nil

3

7

10

5

80

Beating and humiliation

9

30

24

9

13

25

40

30

16

11

207

Arrest, detention or  interrogation

1

16

62

21

24

23

22

27

37

16

249

Denial of access to certain areas

2

3

2

5

3

3

4

15

17

12

66

Confiscation of media equipment

4

5

32

7

2

Nil

2

1

6

9

68

Attacks on media institutions

4

10

33

4

6

3

8

7

13

6

94

Denial o travel

Nil

Nil

Nil

5

1

2

Nil

2

1

Nil

11

House raids

Nil

Nil

4

3

1

Nil

2

1

1

Nil

14

Total

46

116

211

70

80

63

107

118

133

79

1023

 

It is obvious that there has been a continued escalation of attacks executed by IOF against journalists and staff of local and international media institutions working in the OPT.  Particularly there is a significant escalation in the crimes of violation of the right to life and right to safety and security of person.  A World Press Freedom report published in 2008 by Reporters Sans Frantières placed Israel at 136 of 168 countries.

 

No serious investigations have been conducted into attacks by IOF against journalists from local and international media institutions, in keeping with the overall trend of impunity concerning committed by IOF against civilians in the OPT.  The perpetrators of such attacks have been left free, as affirmed by international organizations working in the area of human rights and press freedom. 

 

PCHR is deeply concerned over 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. 

 

Due to the nature of attacks, PCHR has faced some difficulty categorizing attacks, and an attack may include more than one violation. 

 

Violation of the Right to Life and Security of Person

 

During the reporting period, IOF killed three journalists while on duty:

 

Fadel Shana’a, a cameraman who worked for Reuters

 

- On 16 April 2008, Fadel Subhi Shana’a[3], 23, a Reuters’ cameraman, was killed, while his assistant, Wafa Younis Abu Mezyed, 25, sustained shrapnel wounds when IOF fired an artillery shell at them while covering incidents in Juhr al-Dik village in the middle of the Gaza Strip. The area had been invaded by IOF earlier on the reported day. 

 

According to information obtained by PCHR, and the testimony of Wafa Abu Mezyed, a Reuters’ soundman who was wounded in the attack, at approximately 17:00 pm on Wednesday, 16 April 2008, Shana’a, and Abu Mezyed, were near al-Ihsan Mosque in Juhr al-Dik village, southeast of Gaza city, covering the killing of a number of children by IOF artillery shelling in the area.  When they finished their work, Shana’a and Abu Mezyed traveled in their silver Mitsubishi Pajero bearing "TV" and "Reuters" markings towards Salah al-Din Street to continue their work in the area.  They stoped and stepped down from their vehicle a few hundred meters from IOF.  A group of children came and gathered around them.  IOF fired an artillery shell that killed Shana’a.  Abu Mezyed sustained wounds.  Then IOF fired a second shell that hit the back of the vehicle causing heavy damage.  Three civilians, including two children, were also killed in the attack and another 12 civilians, including five children, were wounded.  Ambulances arrived immediately to the scene and transferred Shana’a and Abu Mezyed to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.  Medical sources reported that Shana’a was brought dead to the hospital and that he was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city.  Aby Mezyed received medical treatment for his wounds. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Abu Mezyed stated that:

 

“… When we were traveling towards Salah al-Din Street, Israeli military vehicles were nearly 700 meters away from us.  We stopped and got out of the vehicle and Shana’a started filming the military vehicles.  We were wearing bulletproof suits and carrying cameras.  When I was driving a number of children away from us, I was surprised by a shell falling near Shana’a who was standing near the vehicle.  I saw him falling on the ground and I was wounded by shrapnel to the left hand.  Another shell hit the back of the vehicle, and I was wounded by shrapnel to the pelvis and the right foot.  I cried and ran towards ambulances to save us.”

 

In a statement published on its web site on 17 April 2008, Reuters stated that “Shana’a was covering events in the Gaza Strip for Reuters on a day of intense violence.” “He had stepped from his car to film an Israeli tank dug in several hundred meters (yards) away, when an explosion killed him and two youth passing by.  Video from Shana's camera showed the tank opening fire.  Two seconds after the shot raises dust around its gun, the tape goes blank – seemingly at the moment Shana’a was hit,” the statement added.

 

In a step that encourages IOF troops to kill Palestinians, IOF exempted the soldiers who killed Fadel Shana’a. 

 

On 12 August 2008, Reuters News Agency received a letter from IOF military prosecutor Avihai Mendelblit, in which he stated that the Israeli troops in Juhor Al-Dik could not see whether Fadel Shana’a was operating a camera or brandishing a weapon.  In his letter to Reuters, Mendelblit claimed that “The tank crew was unable to determine the nature of the object mounted on the tripod, and positively identify it as [either] an anti-tank missile, a mortar or a television camera.” Mendelblit also wrote that “In light of the reasonable conclusion reached by the tank crew and its superiors that the characters were hostile, and were carrying an object most likely to be a weapon, the decision to fire at the target… was sound…”

 

At the time, PCHR condemned the response of IOF military prosecutor to Reuters, indicating that this response once again underlines the chronic failure of the State of Israel and its Occupation Forces to conduct proper investigations into the hundreds of crimes they have committed against Palestinian civilians, including journalists, in the OPT.  PCHR stated that this willful failure increases the urgent need to prosecute suspected perpetrators internationally. 

 

 ‘Umar al-Silawi, a cameraman working for al-Aqsa Satellite Channel

 

- On 3 January 2009, 'Umar 'Abdul Hafez al-Silawy, 28, a cameraman working for al-Aqsa Satellite Channel was killed when IOF bombarded al-Maqadma Mosque in the north of Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.  Al-Silawy had been filming the arrival of bodies of dead Palestinians to Kamal ‘Odwan Hospital near al-Maqadma Mosque.  He then walked to the Mosque to pray. IOF bombarded the Mosque and al-Silawi was killed as a result.

 

Ibrahim Khaled Msallam, a cameraman working for al-Aqsa Satellite Channel too, stated to a PCHR fieldworker:

 

“At approximately 18:00 pm on Saturday 3 January 2009, I was with my colleague ‘Umar al-Silawy at Kamal ‘Odwan Hospital in the north of Jabalia refugee camp, filming the arrival of the dead and wounded to the hospital, as a part of our work to al-Aqsa Satellite Channel.  Al-Silawy went to al-Maqadma Mosque, 200 meters away from the hospital, to pray. We agreed that he comes back so he continues the coverage and I go to prayer. As the prayers finished, the forces if the Israeli occupation bombarded the bombarded the Mosque, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.  I immediately headed to the Mosque to film the evacuation of the dead and the wounded.  When I finished, I went back to the Hospital to look for my colleague, and I found him dead."

 

Bassel Ibrahim Faraj, a cameraman of the Algerian Television

 

On 6 January 2009, medical sources in an Egyptian hospital pronounced dead Bassel Ibrahim Faraj, 22, a cameraman for Algerian Television. He died of wounds sustained on 27 December 2008 when IOF bombarded the 15-storey building of Husam Society for Prisoners in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the west of Gaza city.[4]  Faraj was covering Israeli raids on the first day of the IOF offensive on the Gaza Strip with three other colleagues: Khaled Abu Shammala, 26, Correspondent for al-Maghribiya Satellite Channel 2; Mohammed al-Tanany, a cameraman for al-Maghribiya Satellite Channel 2; and Mohammed Mady, a soundman.  The car that was driving the four men was traveling near Husam Society for Prisoners when IOF targeted the building. Rubble from the building and shrapnel hit their car.  The four journalists, including Faraj, were wounded.  They were evacuated to al-Shifa Hospital.  Faraj’s wounds were described as critical and he was transferred to an Egyptian hospital. The other three men sustained light injuries.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, journalist Khaled Abu Shammala stated:

 

“At approximately 11:30 am on Saturday 27 December 2008, I was with Basel Faraj, a cameraman, Mohammed al-Tannani, a cameraman working for the al-Maghrebeya Satellite Channedl 2, and Mohammed Madi, a soundman. We were in Tal al-Hawa in the west of Gaza city. In the meanwhile, we heard heavy explosions rocking Gaza city, especially in the vicinity of the ex-preventive security headquarters in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood.  We immediately drove our dark blue Volex Wagon Golf to the scene of the bombardment. As we arrived near  Husam Society for Prisoners, we were surprised by Israeli bombardment that targeted the Society. Rubbles and shrapnel fell to the car which was heavily damaged,. We were all wounded and immediately evacuated to al-Shifa Hospital for medical treatment.  Faraj was critically wounded.  He was transferred to an Egyptian hospital."

 

 

 

IOF have fired at journalists, wounding 52 of them.  These firing incidents had been documented by PCHR as follows:

 

­   On 2 November 2007, Muna Qendil, a journalist working for the Saudi Satellite Channel, sustained wounds when a tear gas grenade exploded near her.  An IOF soldier had fired the grenade at Qendil while covering a protest against the construction of the annexation wall in Bal’ein village in the west of Ramallah.

 

­   On 25 November 2007, Mohammed Muheisen, a cameraman working for Associated Press (AP), was wounded in his left foot by a rubber-coated metal bullet fired at him by an IOF soldier.  Muheisen was covering the confrontation of IOF with dozens of Palestinian civilians participating in a peaceful demonstration in Beir Zeit town, north of Ramallah. 

 

­   On 11 December 2007, two cameramen escaped death when an IOF tank shelled a house in al-Naser village, east of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip.  The two cameramen were inside the house. The two cameramen are Ya’aqoub Abu Ghalwa, who works for the Palestinian News Agency(WAFA) and AP, and Rami Abu Shammala who works for Ramatan News Agency.  Shortly before the arrival of the two cameramen to the house, IOF bombarded the house resulting in the killing of three civilians.  Abu Ghalwa and Abu Shammala arrived to the house to cover this incident.  However, an IOF tank shelled the house again while the two journalists were inside it with other civilians.  Abu Ghalwa was knocked unconscious as a result and he suffered bruises as debris fell on him. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Rami Abu Shammala stated:

 

“I arrived with my colleague Ya’aqoub Abu Ghalwa to the roof of the house approximately five minutes after a shell fired from an Israeli tank landed inside the house.  The people there told us that there were dead persons on the roof so we entered to the house to film them.  There were three dead persons; one of them was decapitated.  While I was filming the dead, the soldiers of the Israeli occupation fired bullets at the scene where we were.  I hid and continued filming.  Few moments later, a shell landed inside the room where the bodies of the dead persons were, and then another shell followed.  Dense dust covered the scene and my colleague Abu Ghalwa was unconscious.  We remained in the scene for few minutes and then left the house.  My colleague Abu Ghalwa was in a bad psychological state.”

 

-          On 20 December 2007, two Palestinian cameramen were wounded by IOF while covering an IOF incursion into al-Musaddar village in the east of al-Magazi refugee camp, in middle Gaza.  The two cameramen are Nihad Khalil Shana’a, a Reuters’ cameraman, who sustained wounds by a bullet in the left thigh, and Rami Abu Dayah, a correspondent who works for the local al-Aqsa TV, who sustained shrapnel wounds in the head.  In the early morning on the incident day, IOF undercover units had moved into al-Musaddar village, supported by military vehicles and warplanes.  This military operation resulted in the deaths of eight members from the Palestinian resistance, while 21 individuals, mostly civilians, were wounded. 

 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Nihad Khalil Shana’a stated:

 

“I was with another colleague of mine covering and photographing the incursion into al-Musaddar village.  We were wearing clothes that indicated we were journalists. There saw a Palestinian ambulance coming from the invaded area.  I though the ambulance had coordination from the occupation forces.  So I walked with the ambulance.  Suddenly,  the occupation soldiers began to fire at us intentionally.  I could see bullets scattering around us.  I suddenly felt pain in my left thigh.  I realized I was wounded, so I turned back and escaped.  I walked approximately 200 meters till I found an ambulance that evacuated me to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.  Then my director, Shams Shana’a, transferred me in his car to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city where I received necessary medical treatment and left the Hospital.”

 

-          On 15 February 2008, ‘Imad Burnat, a cameraman who works for Reuters and for the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, sustained wounds in the chest from a rubber-coated steel bullet fired at him by an IOF soldier.  Burnat was covering IOF’s use of force to disperse participants in a peaceful demonstration in protest of the construction of the  annexation wall on civilians’ lands in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah.  IOF used rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs to disperse the demonstrators.  One of IOF soldiers fired bullets at Burnat’s camera which was damaged as a result. 

 

-          On 1 March 2008, several press crews came under IOF fire while covering an IOF incursion into the east of Jabalia refugee camp, northern the Gaza Strip.  These press crews included a crew from France Press Agence (AFP), a crew from Ramatan News Agency, a crew from al-Jazeera Satellite Channel and a crew from the Palestinian Media Group.  As a result of the firing, Mahmoud al-‘Ajrami, a journalist who works for the Palestinian Media Group, sustained shrapnel wounds. 

 

-          On 28 March 2008, IOF executed several attacks against a group of journalists who were covering the weekly peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, to protest the construction of the annexation wall.  As a result of these attacks, George Hatleh, a cameraman who works for Pal Media Company, was wounded in his right leg by a rubber-coated steel bullet.  IOF fired tear gas canisters at Nujoud al-Qasem, the reported of the Tunisian TV, Jifara al-Bedeiri, the reporter of al-Jazeera satellite channel, Khaled Sabarna, a cameraman who works for the Iranian TV, Muhib al-Barghouthi, a photographer of al-Hayat al-Jadeeda Newspaper, and Haitham al-Khateeb, a cameraman of the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.  In addition, IOF beat Fadi ‘Arouri, a correspondent of the Palestinian al-Ayam Newspaper.  IOF caused ‘Arouri to fell to ground while beating him.  He sustained bruises throughout the body as a result. 

 

-           On 11 April 2008, an Israeli cameraman was wounded in the thigh by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired at him by an IOF soldier.  The Israeli cameraman was covering the weekly peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.  A Palestinian ambulance transferred him to Na’alin checkpoint where an Israeli ambulance transferred him to Tel Ha’Shomer Hospital in Tel Aviv for medical treatment. 

 

-          On 18 April 2008, ‘Ammar ‘Awad, a Reuters’ cameraman, sustained wounds in the right thigh by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired at him by an IOF soldier while coving the weekly peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.

 

-          On 10 May 2008, Ja’afar Eshtaya, a cameraman who works for AFP, sustained wounds in the left thigh and in the left hand by two rubber-coated steel bullets fired by IOF.  Also Hazim Balidi, a cameraman who works for Pal Media Company, was wounded by a rubber-coated steel bullet in the left hand.  The two cameramen were covering a peaceful demonstration in al-Shofeh village, south of Toul Karem.  The demonstration was organized by Combatants for Peace near the western entrance of al-Shofeh village.  Hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli and international peace activists and a numbers of locals participated in the demonstration aiming at removing the earth barriers created by IOF to block the entrance of the village.  IOF soldiers ordered the journalists to leave the area within three minutes, before three minutes had passed, IOF began to fire bullets and tear gas canisters at the journalists.  Eshtaya and Balidi were wounded as a result.  The camera of Balidi was damaged as well. 

 

-          On 27 May 2008, Jifara al-Bedeiri, the reporter of al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, and Baha’a Naser, a cameraman of the local al-Watan TV, sustained wounds by rubber-coated steel bullets fired by IOF.  Al-Bedeiri and Naser were covering, with other journalists, IOF use of force against a peaceful demonstration in protest of the annexation wall in Na’alin village, northwest of Ramallah. 

 

-          On 8 June 2008, Hassan Mohammed Shahin, an intern at al-Isteqlal Newspaper, from al-Maghazi refugee camp in middle Gaza, sustained wounds in the left hand when IOF positioned along the border strip in the northeast of al-Bureij refugee camp fired at him.  Shahin was approximately 700 meters to the west of the border strip and he was filming agricultural lands that had been razed by IOF.  

 

-          On 9 July 2008, Mu’in Shdid, a correspondent of the Palestinian al-Quds Newspaper, and Abdul Karim ‘Oda, reporter of the local al-Fajr TV, suffered suffocation when IOF fired two tear gas canisters at them.  Shdid and ‘Oda were covering IOF attacks on civilians participating in a peaceful demonstration against the annexation wall in Deir al-Ghsun village, north of Tul Karem. 

 

-          On 25 July 2008, David Reeb, an Israeli freelancer journalist, suffered suffocation when IOF fired a tear gad canister at him directly.  Reeb was covering IOF attacks on participants in the weekly peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.

 

-          On 25 July 2008, Najib Salsali, a French journalist, sustained wounds in the jaw by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired at him by an IOF soldier.  Salsali was covering IOF attacks on Palestinian civilians and international solidarity activists participating in the weekly peaceful demonstration in Na’alin village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.

 

-          On 1 August 2008, ‘Imad Burnat, a cameraman who works for Reuters and for the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, sustained wounds when an IOF soldier fired a tear gas canister at him while covering IOF attacks on Palestinian civilians and international solidarity activists participating in the weekly peaceful demonstration in Na’alin village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.

 

-          On 12 September 2008, an Israeli journalist, called Israel, was hit by a tear gas canister in his abdomen.  The Israeli journalist was covering IOF attacks on Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international solidarity activists and human rights activists participating in the weekly peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall. 

 

-          On 23 September 2008, a British journalist was hit in the neck by a tear gas canister while covering the visit of Jerome Bellion, Political Officer of the European Commission, to Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah, to witness developments related to the construction of the annexation wall.  IOF troops targeted the delegation that accompanied Jerome Bellion near the annexation wall. 

 

-          On 3 October 2008, Muhib al-Barghouthi, a correspondent of al-Hayat al-Jadida Newspaper, suffered suffocation as IOF fired a tear gas canister at him.  Al-Barghouti was covering IOF attacks on dozens of Palestinian civilians and dozens of international and Israeli solidarity activists and human rights defenders who were trying to reach farms near the annexation wall in Bal’ein village to harvest olives. 

 

-          On 7 November 2008, Mustafa Abdul Razeq al-Khawaja, a journalist, was wounded in his left hand by a steel bullet fired at him by an IOF soldier while covering IOF attacks on dozens of civilians who demonstrated in protest of IOF bulldozing of agricultural lands in Na’alin village to construct a section of the annexation wall. 

 

-          On 19 December 2008, three journalists, including two unidentified international journalists, suffered suffocation as IOF fired poisonous gas canisters at them while covering the weekly peaceful demonstration in Na’alin village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.  The identified cameraman was Mustafa Khbeisa, a cameraman who works for Palestine Media and Communications Company (PMCC). 

 

-          On 19 December 2008, two journalists, including an Israeli journalist, were wounded as IOF fired rubber-coated steel bullets at them.  The two journalists are: ‘Isam al-Rimawi, a cameraman who works for WAFA, who was wounded by a bullet to the thigh, and an independent Israeli journalist who is called Israel and who was wounded by a bullet to the shoulder.  The two journalists were covering IOF attacks on dozens of Palestinian civilians and dozens of international and Israeli solidarity activist and human rights defenders who were trying to reach Palestinian civilians’ farms beyond the wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah city.  IOF fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters at the participants. 

 

-          On 27 December 2009, the first day of IOF latest offensive on the Gaza Strip, Ihab Mohammed al-Shawa, 23, a Ramattan News Agency’s cameraman, sustained shrapnel wounds when IOF bombarded al-‘Abbas Police Station in the west of Gaza city.  As al-Shawa was with another two journalists covering IOF bombardment of al-‘Abbas Police Station, IOF warplanes bombarded the said station again.  Al-Shawa who was wounded in the attack was transferred to the nearby al-Shifa Hospital where he stayed two days for medical treatment. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Shawa stated:

 

“At approximately 11:30 am on Saturday, 27 December 2009, I was with two colleagues near the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council, west of Gaza city, filming a press report when we heard heavy explosions throughout Gaza city.  We immediately headed to al-‘Abbas Police Station to film the bombardments.  I was filming 50 meters far from the targeted Station when warplanes re-bombarded the Station.  I fell to the ground as I sustained shrapnel wounds in the right leg.  I was evacuated by a civilian car to the nearby al-Shifa Hospital where I stayed two days for medical treatment."

 

-          On 1 January 2009, Mohammed Yousef Abdul Wahab, 31, a cameraman who works for al-Aqsa Satellite Channel, sustained shrapnel wounds in the face and bruises throughout  the body when IOF re-bombarded a civilian vehicle in al-Samer area in the center of Gaza city.  Abdul Wahab was covering the bombardment of the vehicle when Israeli warplanes re-bombarded the scene, and he was wounded as a result.

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Abdul Wahab stated:

 

"At approximately 12:00 on Thursday, 1 January 2009, I headed to al-Samer area to cover Israeli bombardment of a civilian car.  When I arrived to the scene, I began filming the targeted car.  Medical crews were evacuating a wounded person from the car.  I was filming 50 meters far from the car.  In the meanwhile, a heavy explosion took place and I fell to the ground.  I was bleeding from my head.  Some civilians who were in the scene transferred me by the vehicle of the al-Aqsa Satellite Channel to al-Shifa Hospital for medical treatment.  I sustained shrapnel wounds in the head and bruises throughout the body”

 

-          On 2 January 2009, Eyad 'Adnan al-Za’eem, 30, a cameraman working for British ITN Television, sustained shrapnel wounds to the head while covering IOF bombardment of the border strip between Gaza and Egypt, south of Rafah. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Za’eem stated:

 

"At approximately 10:00 am on Friday, 2 January 2009, I was together with two colleagues in a building located near the border with Egypt, south of Rafah, to cover Israeli bombardment of the tunnels area.  There was a tunnel that had been bombarded by IOF near the house.  While I was inside the house filming the place, a heavy explosion rocked the house where I was.  I flew in the air and hit against a wall out of the strength of the explosion.  The place was covered with dust and smoke.  I then rushed out of the building.  When I got out, I found that the building where I was collapsed because of the bombardment.  I felt pain in the left side of my head.  My colleagues immediately evacuated me to the hospital.  It was found out that I sustained shrapnel injuries in the left side of the head and the left ear.''

 

-          On 2 January 2009, ‘Abbas al-Moumni, a cameraman working for AFP, sustained wounds in his left leg by shrapnel from a bullet fired at him by an IOF soldier.  Al-Moumni was covering IOF attacks on a peaceful demonstration near Qalandia Military Checkpoint, north of Jerusalem.  He was transferred to Sheikh Zayed Governmental Hospital in Ramallah City for necessary medical treatment. 

 

-          On 4 January 2009, the crew of the al-Maghribiya Satellite Channel 2 was under the fire of IOF positioning on the coastal road in the south of Gaza city.  The members of the crew were Khalid Sa’id Abu Shammala, a reporter, Eyad Abu Zbeida, a cameraman, and Subhi Abu Zeid, assistant.  They were coming from al-Zahra’a in the south of Gaza city towards Gaza city.  The crew was a part of a convoy that included a medical crew and an ICRC crew.  ICRC had obtained the necessary coordination with IOF in order to allow the convoy to pass.  The convoy was held for three hours by IOF who fired at the convoy without reporting any casualties. 

 

-          On 6 January 2009, Ala’a Fayez al-Hindi, 31, a cameraman working for al-Aqsa Satellite Channel, was wounded when IOF re-bombarded a house belonging to the Abu ‘Oda family in al-Amal neighborhood in Khan Younis.  Al-Hindi drove to the house which was bombarded by IOF warplanes earlier on the same day to cover the event.  While he was filming the bombarded house, IOF warplanes re-bombarded the house.  The debris fell over al-Hindi who sustained shrapnel injuries and bruises throughout the body.  He was immediately evacuated to Naser Hospital in Khan Younis city for medical treatment.  Medical sources described his wounds to be moderate. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Hindi stated:

 

"At approximately 09:30 am on Tuesday, 6 January 2009, IOF bombarded a house belonging to the Abu ‘Oda family.  I rushed to the area to cover the bombardment.  While I was filming members of the family evacuating their belongings, another missile, which was more destructive, targeted the house once again.  I was only 40 meters far from the spot where the missile landed.  The explosion which was very loud produced dense dust and shrapnel and debris scattered in the area.  I fell down as I was hit by shrapnel.”

 

-          On 9 January 2009, Manar Shalloula, 27, assistant to the cameraman of al-Ekhbariya Satellite Channel, sustained shrapnel wounds in the head, when IOF bombarded the roof of al-Jawhara building in the center of Gaza city.  The Media Group Company uses al-Jawhara building to receive and broadcast media materials.  Shalloula, whose wounds were described to be moderate, was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital for medical treatment. 

-          On 9 January 2009, Mohammed Moheisen, a cameraman working for AP, sustained wounds when he was hit in the chest by a tear gas canister fired at him by an IOF soldier.  Moheisen was covering IOF attacks on a peaceful demonstration near Qalandia Checkpoint in the north of Jerusalem.  As Moheisen was directly hit, he inhaled a lot of poisonous gas.  He was transferred to Sheikh Zayed Governmental Hospital in Ramallah city for treatment. 

 

-          On 14 January 2009, Maher Yasin al-Madhoun, 31, and Ahmed Na’im Matar, 22, cameramen working for al-Aqsa Satellite Channel, were wounded while carrying out their job when IOF re-bombarded apartment buildings in al-Maqousy area.  Al-Madhoun’s right foot was amputated and he suffered left leg’s bone laceration.  Matar sustained bruises throughout the body.  Both were evacuated to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city.  Al-Madhoun was later transferred to an Egyptian hospital as he was in a serious condition.  He stayed in Egypt for one month for medical treatment and then returned to Gaza. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Madhoun said:

 

“At approximately 20:30 pm on Wednesday, 14 January 2009, I was in al-Maqousy area covering the Israeli bombardment of an apartment building.  I was filming a flat that was set alight as it had been bombarded by IOF.  I went into the flat to have a clearer footage.  My colleague Ahmed Matar was with me as we went upstairs to help a resident who was calling for help.  Reaching the flat, we found a man and his wife who were wounded and lying on the ground and civil defense crews were there to evacuate them.  IOF once again targeted the flat and a heavy explosion took place.  I fel to the ground as a result.  My right foot was cut and my left leg was lacerated."

 

-          On 15 January 2009, Mohammed Subhi al-Soussi, 35, and Ayman Yousef al-Ruzzi, 34, who work for Abu Dhabi Satellite Channel, sustained shrapnel wounds when IOF bombarded Gaza Media Center on the 14th floor of al-Shorouq apartment building in the west of Gaza city.  Al-Soussi and al-Ruzzi were inside the office of Abu Dhabi Satellite Channel in Gaza Media Center when Israeli warplanes fired a missile at the Center.  Al-Soussi sustained shrapnel wounds in the left hand and shoulder and bruises throughout the body, while al- Ruzzi sustained shrapnel wounds in the head.  Both were evacuated to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Soussi stated:

 

"At approximately 23:30 pm on Thursday, 15 January 2009, I was with my colleague, Ayman al-Ruzzi, a cameraman and a montage technician, in the office of Gaza Media Center on the 14th floor of al-Shorouq apartment building.  We were filming IOF incursion into Tal al-Hawa district, west of Gaza city.  In the meanwhile, the forces of the Israeli occupation fired a missile at the Center.  I fell to the ground as a result, and I lost consciousness for few minutes.  Then I saw dense dust and excessive destruction in the Center.  I felt severe pain and I realized that I sustained shrapnel wounds and burns in the left hand and shoulder.  My bullet proof suit was hit by at least 12 pieces of shrapnel.   My colleague Ayman was wounded by shrapnel to the head and he sustained bruises throughout the body.  Two other colleagues survived miraculously.  We went downstairs where we met our colleagues who evacuated us to al-Shifa Hospital.  We received necessary medical treatment.  My colleague Ayman al-Ruzzi underwent a surgery in which doctors removed the pieces of shrapnel from his head.  His wounds were describe to be moderate.”

-          On 16 January 2009, Lorinzo Cremeozi, an Italian journalist working for Corrieri De Lasera Newspaper, was fired at by IOF troops stationed at al-Shuhada intersection, south of Gaza city.  Cremeozi was accompanied by a translator and a driver.  Cremeozi made coordination with IOF to allow him to pass to Gaza city coming from Khan Younis.  However, IOF fired at him and at his colleagues.  No casualties were reported.  IOF continued sporadically firing at the press team for two hours.  Cremeozi and his companions were trapped behind an earth barrier. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Fadi Abu Shammala, Cremeozi’s translator, stated:

 

“At approximately 15:00 pm on Friday, 16 January 2009, we arrived at al-Shuhada’ intersection on Salah al-Din Street, south of Gaza Cit.  we were drivng  fromm Khan Younis.  Cremeozi had made necessary coordination with the IOF media office.  We were traveling in a red civilian car.  When we arrived at the said intersection, Cremeozi stepped down from the car and waved to a group of Israeli soldiers who were approximately 40 meters far from us.  He talked to them in English.  He identified himself, yet Israeli soldiers opened fire at us.  Cremeozi and the driver sprawled.  I remained in the car which was hit by several bullets.  As the firing at us continued, we hid behind an earth barrier.  Cremeozi phoned to a spokesperson of the forces of the Israeli occupation who is called 'Avital', informing her that he was fired at while driving near al-Shuhada’ intersection.  In the meanwhile, two successive explosions took place nearly 40 meters away from us.  At approximately 15:30 pm, Cremeozi called Avital again and specified our location for her.  She told us to move.  We got into the car and drove ahea.  However, Israeli occupation soldiers opened fire at us again.  They continued firing at us sporadically for approximately one hour.  Cremeozi once again phoned to Avital who in turn asked him to wait till she gets permission for the team’s passage.  Ten minutes later, Avital called Cremeozi asking about what he was wearing demanding him to wave to the Israeli troops with his suit.  He did what she asked him to do, but the Israeli soldiers opened fire at us.  He called Avital to tell her what happened.  She asked him to wait until the Israeli soldiers call on him.  It was approximately 17:00 pm.  Few minutes later, the Israeli soldiers called on Ceremozi to pass.  We drove back to Khan Younis instead of traveling to Gaza city.”

 

-          On 23 January 2009, a Japanese journalist called Kairo, 27, was hit in the hand by a tear gas canister, and an unidentified female Spanish journalist, 40, was hit by a tear gas canister to the thigh.  The two journalists who suffered suffocation and bruises as a result were covering IOF attacks on a peaceful demonstration organized by dozens of Palestinian civilians who walked to the annexation wall in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, to protest the IOF offensive on the Gaza Strip. 

 

-          On 20 March 2009, Khalil Mohammed Rayash, a cameraman working for Ma’an News Agency, sustained wounds by a rubber-coated steel bullet to the left leg, and Bashar Mahmoud Nazzal, a Reuters’ cameraman, also sustained wounds by a rubber-coated steel bullet to the left leg.  The two cameramen were covering IOF attacks on the weekly peaceful demonstration in Jayous village, northeast of Qalqilia, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall on the lands of the village.  They were evacuated to the UNRWA Hospital in Qalqilia for necessary medical treatment. 

 

-          On 3 April 2009, Sa’ed fathi Huwwari, a Reuters’ cameraman, sustained wounds in his right leg as he was hit by a tear gas canister fired by IOF, and Rebhi al-Kobari, a cameraman who works for the Media Network, sustained wounds in the leg as he was also hit by a tear gas canister.  The two cameramen were covering IOF attacks on Palestinian civilians participating in the weekly peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, to protest of the construction of the annexation wall.

 

-           On 10 April 2009, Mohammed Moheisen, a cameraman working for AP, was hit by two tear gas canisters, one to the face and another to the left shoulder.  Moheisen was covering IOF attacks on Palestinian civilians participating in the weekly peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, to protest the construction of the annexation wall.  He said to the PCHR fieldworker: “If I was not wearing my gas proof mask, my face would have been burnt.  The masque and the camera saved me.”

 

-          On 10 April 2009, ‘Ata Mustafa ‘Awadh, a cameraman working for Ramatan News Agency, was hit by two tear gas canisters fired by IOF to the back and to the right shoulder.  ‘Awadh was covering IOF attacks on the weekly peaceful demonstration in Na’alin village, west of Ramallah, to protest the construction of the annexation wall on the lands of the village.  ‘Awadh lost consciousness and fell to the ground.  He received medical treatment at a field hospital at the scene. 

 

-          On 29 May 2009, Abdul Rahman Khubeisa, a cameraman who works for AP, sustained burns throughout the body as IOF fired two tear gas canisters at him directly to prevent him from covering IOF attacks on dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international solidarity activists and human rights activists participating in the weekly peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.  One of the canisters hit Khubeisa in his leg, burning his clothes and causing him burns in the upper part of his legs, while the other hit his abdomen causing him further burns.  He was evacuated to Sheik Zayed Hospital in Ramallah for medical treatment. 

 

Beating, Humiliation and Inhumane 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 7 December 2007, Ashraf Mahfouz Abu Turk, a freelancer cameraman, sustained bruises as IOF severely beat him while covering the peaceful demonstration in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.

 

-          On 7 December 2009, Mousa al-Sha’er, a cameraman who works for AFP, and Naser al-Shyoukhi, who works for AP, sustained bruises throughout the body as IOF severely beat them while covering IOF attacks on a peaceful demonstration in al-Ma’asara village, south of Bethlehem, in protest of the construction of the annexation wall.  On the same day, IOF beat two journalists, Eyad Hamad and Mohammed Abu Ghaneya, and arrested them. 

 

-          On 19 January 2008, Abdul Hafeez al-Hashlamon, a photographer working for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), was severely beaten by extremist settlers from “Kiryat Arba” and “Kharsina” settlements, southeast of Hebron.  The settlers forced al-Hashlamon to stop photographing and to leave the area as they were attacking Palestinian civilians.  A group of IOF border guards stopped al-Hashlamon and forced him to destroy the photos that he took of the attacks. 

 

-          On 13 February 2008, IOF severely beat Mu’in Shdid, reporter for Palestine TV and the Qatari TV, and Hazem Balidi, a cameraman who works for Pal Media Company.  Shdid and Balidi were filming a Palestinian civilian moving on a wheelchair through al-Jarousheya checkpoint, north of Toul Karem city, as IOF prevented Palestinian civilians from crossing the checkpoint by car.  IOF confiscated the tape from Balidi and destroyed his camera.  Shdid and Balidi were making a report on the impacts of IOF imposition of restriction on the movement of Palestinian civilians, mainly patients. 

 

-          On 13 March 2008, Mohammed Ballas, a cameraman working for AP, was severely beaten by an IOF soldier while covering IOF incursion into Talfit village, south of Jenin and imposition of closures on locations near the American University in the village.  IOF also prevented a number of cameramen and journalists from covering the events in the area as they claimed it was a closed military zone, and forced journalists to leave the area.  These cameramen and journalists included: 1) Mohammed Ballas, a cameraman, 2) Seif al-Din al-Dahla, a cameraman working for WAFA, 3) Mohammed al-Turkman, a Reuters’ cameraman, and 4) ‘Ali al-Samoudi, reporter for al-Jazeera Satellite Channel and for the Palestinian al-Quds Newspaper. 

 

-          On 16 May 2008, Samer Hamad, 28, a cameraman working for AP, was severely beaten by IOF using clubs and gun butts.  Hamad sustained bruises throughout the body.  He was covering IOF attacks on dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli solidarity activists and human rights defenders who were participating in a peaceful demonstration in al-Ma’asara village, south of Bethlehem, to protest the construction of the annexation wall.

 

-          On 14 June 2008, IOF committed several violations against a number of journalists during their incursion into al-Doha village, south of Bethlehem city.  IOF claimed this incursion was aimed at searching for wanted people and opened fire indiscriminately in the village and fired tear gas canisters.  Mousa al-Sha’er, a cameraman who works for AFP, was beaten by IOF who destroyed his camera.  In a second incident on the same day, IOF beat the wife of Ahmed Mezher, a cameraman working for WAFA, under the pretext that she refused to close her husband’s studio.  IOF also destroyed the glass of the car of Mohammed Abu Ghaneya, a Reuters’ cameraman, while the crew of the local al-Ru’a TV, composed of the director and another four journalists, were held by IOF for approximately two hours. 

 

-          On Thursday, 26 June 2008, Mohammed ‘Umar al-Mughayar, 24, from Rafah, a reporter of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs was harassed by IOF at al-Karama International Crossing Point (Allenby Bridge) on the Jordanian border when he was traveling back to the Gaza Strip after having received the Martha Gelhorn Journalism Prize 2008 in London. 

In his testimony to PCHR, al-Mughayar stated:

 

“At approximately 09:40 am on 26 June 2008, I arrived at Allenby Bridge on the Jordanian border, coming from the United Kingdom after I had received the Martha Gelhorn Journalism Prize 2008  for the best press story over the world.  I had a tour over Europe.  When I arrived at the Israeli side of the crossing point, I was asked to wait at the travelers hall after the soldiers checked my passport.  Soon after, a person, who was apparently an Israeli intelligence officer, came and asked me to take my bags and to accompany him through a narrow corridor that was equipped with cameras.  He forced me to wait for nearly an hour and a half.  They then took me into interrogation rooms, where I was interrogated about the prize and the reason for me to travel back to Gaza.  While I was answering questions quietly, another interrogator came and took me to another room and ordered me to take off my clothes, including the underwear.  He ordered me to turn around my self.  They then checked my bags again for a longer time.  During the interrogation, I fainted, and the interrogators violently beat me thinking that I was pretending.  As I did not wake up, they called for a Palestinian ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, which evacuated me to Jericho Hospital, where I received medical care.  I was then transported by a vehicle of the Dutch Embassy, which was waiting at the crossing point to transport me to Gaza, as the Dutch Embassy coordinated my travel.  When I arrived at Beit Hanoun crossing in the north of the Gaza Strip, I was immediately transferred to the European Hospital in Khan Younis for medical treatment.”

 

-          On 18 October 2008, Abdul Hafiz Diab al-Hashlamon, 45, a cameraman working for EPA, sustained bruises throughout the body as Israeli settlers beat him severely in Tal al-Rumeida neighborhood in the center of Hebron city.  Al- Hashlamon was with another number of journalists covering an activity organized by Ta’ayosh Organization, Sabil Organization and the Christian Peacemakers Team to harvest olives in Tal al-Rumeida neighborhood in participation with dozens of Palestinian civilians and international peace activists.  In the meanwhile, a number of Israeli settlers from “Ramat Yishai” settlement stormed a field and attacked Abdul Hafiz Diab al-Hashlamon.  They beat him severely and took his camera by force.  His brother, Nayef Diab al-Hashlamon, 55, who is a reporter for Reuters, intervened to save him, but the settlers pushed him to the ground and threatened him.  Soon after, a Scottish peace activist, Janet Benvie, 63, intervened to save al-Hashlamon, but the settlers attacked her and she sustained bruises as a result.  IOF troops were present in the area, but did not intervene to stop the attack.

 

-          On 31 October 2008, three cameramen sustained bruises throughout the body as a number of settlers, including masked settlers, beat them while covering settlers’ attacks on civilians in the house of Khalifa Da’ana near “Kharsina” settlement, northeast of Hebron city in the south of the West Bank.  The attacked cameramen are: 1) Hazem Jamil Bader, a reporter for AFP, who sustained a wound in the head 2) Yousri Mahmoud al-Jamal, a Reuters’ cameraman, who sustained wounds in the right leg, and 3) Eyad Hamad, working for AP, who sustained bruises in the left leg. 

 

-          On 2 January 2009, IOF soldiers attacked Yousri al-Jamal, a Reuters’ cameraman, while covering a peaceful demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron city.  Al-Jamal stated that an IOF soldier walked to him and pushed him claiming the area was a closed military zone.  According to al-Jamal, the soldier confiscated his camera and hit it against the earth.  When al-Jamal protested, the soldier held him up and threw him against a wall.  Al-Jamal sustained bruises throughout the body as a result. 

 

-          On 13 March 2009, IOF soldiers severely beat Nayef al-Hashlamon and Eyad Hamad, Reuters’ cameramen, while covering IOF attacks on dozens of Palestinian women and international solidarity and peace activists participating in a peaceful demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall in al-Ma’asara village, south of Bethlehem.  IOF troops were intensively positioning near the main entrance of the village near “Ifrat” settlement to stop the demonstration, as the soldiers blocked the way with barbed wires. 

 

-          On 23 March 2009, Mahfouz Abu Turk, a freelance journalist, was severely beaten as IOF soldiers used clubs to beat him with a number of Palestinian civilians near Jerusalem.  Large troops belonging to IOF, including border guards; undercover units; Israeli intelligence and Israeli police, besieged a tent, which had been erected in solidarity with residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, where a press conference for religious figures was supposed to be held to declare the beginning of the activities related to declaration of Jerusalem as a capital of the Arab culture for 2009.  They beat the people who were in the tent, including Abu Turk who was covering the activity. 

 

-          On 27 March 2009, IOF beat four cameramen to prevent them from covering IOF attacks on the weekly peaceful demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall in al-Ma’asara village, south of Bethlehem.  The four cameramen are: 1) Nayef al-Hashlamon, a Reuters’ cameraman, 2) Mohammed Abu Ghaneya, a Reuters’ cameraman, 3) Eyad Hamed, a cameraman working for AP, and 4) Mousa al-Sha’er, a cameraman working for AFP. 

 

-          On 20 June 2009, ‘Amer Mohii ‘Abdin, a cameraman working for Pal Media Company, sustained bruises and wounds in his right leg as IOF soldiers attacked him while covering IOF attacks on dozens of Palestinian farmers and Israeli and international solidarity activists who were demonstrating in lands threatened to confiscation in “Wad Abu al-Rish” area, north of Beit Ummar village in the north of Hebron city.  A number of settlers from “Beit Ein” settlement were accompanying IOF soldiers and threw stones at protesters and journalists, under the protection provided by IOF. 

 

-          On 27 June 2009, Nayef Diab al-Hashlamon, a cameraman working for AP, sustained bruises in the face and the shoulders when IOF attacked him while covering IOF attacks on dozens of Palestinian farmers and Israeli and international solidarity activists who were demonstrating in lands threatened to confiscation in “Wad Abu al-Rish” area, north of Beit Ummar village in the north of Hebron city.  Al-Hashlamon stated that an IOF soldier beat him severely on the chest and the right hand.  He fell to the ground as a result, and one of his cameras was destroyed.  Al-Hashlamon also added that IOF did not allow the access of ambulances to the area.  He remained on the ground for approximately 30 minutes suffering severe pains in the heart.  A number of journalists transferred him to ‘Aleya Hospital in Hebron city for medical treatment. 

 

-          On 31 July 2009, Mohammed Abu Haneya, a Reuters’ cameraman, was severely beaten by IOF while covering a mass wedding party that accompanied a peaceful demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall in al-Ma’asara village, south of Bethlehem.  Abu Haneya sustained bruises and he was treated in the field. 

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, PCHR documents a number of cases in which journalists were detained because of their journalistic work. 

 

Detention

 

-          On 26 November 2007, an IOF military court extended the administrative detention of Walid Khaled, from Eskaka village, east of Salfit, who is the director of Palestine Newspaper in the West Bank, for six months.  Khaled was arrested by IOF on 18 May 2007 and was placed under administrative detention on 7 June 2007.  On 13 May 2008, ‘Ofer Military Court extended the administrative detention of Khaled four new six months.  He is detained in al-Ramlah military prison. 

 

-          On 7 December 2007, IOF arrested Eyad Hamad, a cameraman working for AP, and Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Ghaneya, a Reuters’ cameraman, while covering IOF attacks on a peaceful demonstration in al-Ma’asara village, south of Bethlehem, against the confiscation of lands for the construction of the annexation wall.  IOF soldiers severely beat Hamad and Abu Ghaneya, causing bruises throughout their bodies. They were brought to a detention center in “Kfar ‘Atsoun” settlement illegally established on Palestinian lands in the southwest of Bethlehem.  IOF detained the two cameramen as they claimed they wanted to interrogate them because they disrupted the work of IOF soldiers.  Hamad and Abu Ghaneya were released after being issued with a summons for trial. 

 

-           On 12 December 2007, IOF arrested Mohammed ‘Izzat al-Halaiqa, a cameraman working for al-Aqsa TV of Hamas Movement, from his village, al-Shyoukh village in Hebron city, south of the West Bank.  Since his detention, al-Halaiqa has been presented before an IOF military court several times.  However, he was not been sentenced.  He was held under continued interrogation for one month and a half in Askalan military prison.  Then he was transferred to ‘Ofer military prison near Ramallah city.  On 26 May 2008, ‘Ofer military court issued an order to detain al-Halaiqa till 11 June 2008.  On 11 June 2008, ‘Ofer military court sentenced al-Halaiqa to one year of imprisonment, payment of a fine of 4,000 NIS and a 6-month stay of execution. 

 

-          On 16 December 2007, IOF arrested Tareq Zeid, a cameraman working for al-Aqsa TV, from his residency area in Nablus city in the center of the West Bank. 

 

-          On 16 December 2007, IOF arrested two journalists; Sami Rami al-‘Asi and Hamed al-Bitawi, from their houses in a mass arrest campaign in Nablus city.  On the reporting day, IOF arrested 25 Palestinian civilians, including a child.  In the same campaign, Ahmed al-Haj ‘Ali, a PLC member for the Change and Reform Bloc of Hamas, two members of Nablus municipal council from the Change and Reform Bloc of Hamas, and we two university lecturers were arrested.  On 24 June 2008, an IOF military court ordered to extend the administrative detention of al-‘Asi for six new months, for the second consecutive time. 

 

-          On 26 February 2008, IOF arrested Jihad Shehada, the director of al-Baian Press Center in Salfit, while he was crossing Za’atara military checkpoint, south of Nablus.  IOF checked Shehada’s ID card, forced him to step down from his car, handcuffed him and took him to an unknown destination. 

 

-          On 10 March 2008, IOF arrested Hasan Mahmoud Abdul Jawad Fararja, 53, correspondent of al-Ayam Newspaper and a member of the board of directors of the Journalists Union, from his house in al-Dheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem.  On the reporting day, IOF had moved into al-Dheisha refugee camp.  They searched a number of houses, including the house of Fararja, and misused their contents.  They arrested four civilians, including Fararja.  On 28 March 2008, Fararja was released on a bail of 75,000 NIS (approximately USD 21,000) according to an order by the military court.  Five thousands NIS were paid before the release.  Fararja was placed under house arrest in his house in Bethlehem till the date of his trial, under the pretext of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. 

 

-          On 29 May 2008, IOF arrested Ashraf al-Kafarna, a cameraman working for Ramatan News Agency, from his house in Beit Hanoun town, north of the Gaza Strip.  IOF had searched al-Kafarna’s house and misused its contents.  IOF took al-Kafarna, with another number of arrested locals, to Zekem military camp.  IOF interrogated al-Kafarna and the other arrested civilians.  Al-Kafarna was released on the same day.

 

-           On 4 June 2008, IOF positioning at the “Container” checkpoint near Bethlehem, arrested Mohammed al-Qiq, 25, from Dora village in the southwest of Hebron, who is a correspondent of a number of websites and a writer.  Al-Qiq was traveling from Hebron to Ramallah.  He was with Samir al-Halaiqa, a PLC member of the Change and Reform Bloc of Hamas movement.  IOF stopped the car of al-Halaiqa for approximately one hour.  IOF then arrested al-Qiq and transferred him to “’Ofer” prison near Ramallah.  On 3 November 2008, “’Ofer” military court sentenced al-Qiq to 16 months of imprisonment and to pay a bail of 3,000 NIS.  On 13 November 2008, IOF transferred al-Qiq, with another number of Palestinian prisoners, to Negev desert prison. 

 

-          On 5 June 2008, Mustafa Sabri, a freelance journalist from Qalqilia, received a phone call from somebody who said he was an officer of the Israeli intelligence and the chief of Qaqilia.  The caller asked Sabri to meet him on the same day in the Israeli military crossing in the north of Qaqilia.  As Sabri arrived to the place of the meeting, he was held under interrogation for one hour and a half.  He was released after the interrogation. 

 

-          On 22 June 2008, a media crew from Ramatan, consisting of Fou’ad al-Farroukh, montage technician, Rami Juhjaha, cameraman, Nubl Nabil, soundman, and Mohammed Marbou’a, a broadcasting engineer, were stopped by IOF positioned at  Za’atara military checkpoint while driving from Ramallah to Nablus.  IOF held the crew for approximately six hours under the pretext that one of its members threw stones at an Israeli settler.  An IOF military vehicle then arrived at the checkpoint and transferred the members of the media crew to “Beniamen” interrogation center in “Beit Eil” settlement illegally established on Palestinian lands in Ramallah.  Later, an Israeli settler came and claimed that Fou’ad al-Farroukh was the person who threw stones at him.  Late in the night of the same day, IOF released Nubl Nabil and Mohammed Marbou’a, while Fou’ad al-Farroukh and Rami Juhjaha remained detained.  On 29 June 2008, Juhjaha was released while al-Farroukh was transferred to “’Ofer” military prison near Ramallah. 

 

-          On 7 July 2008, Faten ‘Olwan, reporter fir al-Hurra Satellite Channel, was attacked several times by IOF while covering a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with the residents of N’elin village.  ‘Olwan was beaten and held for long hours.  A number of IOF soldiers stopped ‘Olwan and prevented her from covering the demonstration, but she refused saying there were no orders to announce the area as a closed military zone.  While she was interviewing one of the participants, an IOF soldier fired a sound bomb at her.  Then a number of soldiers came and began beating and insulting her.  The soldiers held her for approximately two hours.  Later, an IOF vehicle arrived to the scene and transferred ‘Olwan to “Beniamen” interrogation center in “Beit Eil” settlement illegally established on Palestinian lands in Ramallah.  She was held under interrogation till a late hour of the night of the reporting day when she was released. 

 

-          On 15 July 2008, IOF arrested Mosa’ab Husam al-Din Qatalouni, 24, a freelance journalist, from his house in Nablus city.  IOF moved into Nablus city amidst heavy firing of bullets and sound bombs.  IOF raided the house of Qatalouni and searched the house and misused its contents.  They confiscated a computer and documents.  They took Qatalouni and his father to “Huwwara” military detention center.  Qatalouni was held under interrogation about the nature of his work and social relationships.  He was released with his father the following day. 

 

-          On 15 July 2008, IOF raided the house of Ibrahim Hammad, a soundman working for Ramatan News Agency, in Qalandia refugee camp, south of Ramallah city, and arrested him.  On 11 August 2008, IOF announced the administrative detention of Hammad without directing any charges against him. 

 

-          On 22 November 2008, IOF arrested Ithar Abu Gharbeya, a cameraman from Jerusalem working for Palestine Media and Communications Company.  IOF had earlier summoned him to appear before Israeli authorities in al-Maskoubeya military center in Jerusalem. 

 

-          On 5 April 2009, IOF, positioning at Za’atara checkpoint in the southeast of Nablus, arrested Yousif Mahmoud Abu Ja’as, a journalist from Jenin refugee camp in the west of Jenin city working for the local al-Farah TV.  Eyewitnesses reported that IOF stopped the vehicle that was transporting Abu Ja’as and forced him to step down.  IOF then handcuffed him and took him to an unknown destination.  Later, an IOF administrative court issued an order to place Abu Ja’as under administrative detention for three months. 

 

-          On 1 May 2009, IOF arrested ‘Azmi al-Shyoukhi, a journalist and general supervisor of Palestine Media and Information Network, while covering IOF attacks on a peaceful demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall in al-Ma’asara village, south of Bethlehem.  Al-Shyoukhi said that he was driven by IOF with another number of participants to Kfar ‘Atsoun police station, and that IOF interrogated him about his work and his participation in the demonstration.  IOF accused al-Shyoukhi of inciting the organization of demonstrations in protest of the construction of the annexation wall and settlement.  Al-Shyoukhi was presented to trial before ‘Ofer court on charges of incitement of demonstrations.  On 13 May 2005, he was released on a bail after he had been sentenced to one-year stay execution.  He was also prevented from participation in demonstrations. 

 

-          On 31 august 2009, IOF raided the house of Serri Abdul Fattah Sammour, a writer and a journalist working for different websites and printed newspapers, in Jenin city in the north of the West Bank.  IOF searched the house and confiscated two computers and three mobiles.  They took Sammour to an unknown destination.  Up to the publication of this report, no news was received about Sammour’s place. 

 

Holding

 

-          On 1 November 2007, IOF held ‘Ali Sadeq Samoudi, a reporter for al-Jazira Satellite Channel and of al-Quds Newspaper, as he arrived at (al-Hamra) military checkpoint.  Samoudi was driving from Jenin city to Jericho to participate in a media training course. 

 

-          On 28 January 2008, IOF held a number of journalists and cameramen working for news agencies inside a shop.  They prevented them from covering IOF military operation in Bethlehem.  Some of these journalists were identified, including Munjed Jado, a reporter of the Arab News Network (ANN), Eyad Hamad, a cameraman working for AP, and Fadi Hamad, a cameraman working for Pal Media Company.  Those journalists and cameramen remained held for seven hours inside a shop opposite to the house of Mohammed ‘Abda in Wadi al-Ma’ali neighborhood in the center of Bethlehem city.  IOF were surrounding ‘Abda’s house in order to arrest him. 

 

-          On 4 February 2008, IOF held three journalists in a shop in Hebron city to prevent them from covering an IOF military operation in the city.  IOF had moved in Hebron city and surrounded the house of Salim Mohammed al-Herbawi.  When the three journalists, Amjad Shawar, a reporter of the local al-Khalil Radio, Ayman al-Qawasmi, a reporter of the local al-Hureya Radio, and ‘Ammar Jahshan, a cameraman working for Pal Media Company, arrived to the scene, IOF prevented them from covering the events and held them in a shop opposite to the surrounded house.  IOF released the three journalists after they had arrested the owner of the surrounded house and his son. 

 

-          On 3 March 2008, IOF held Ramatan News Agency’s crew, composed of Hadi al-Debes; a cameraman, and Bakr Abu Rjeila; a producer, near Huwwara checkpoint, south of Nablus city.  The crew members remained held for four hours and were prevented from filming as IOF claimed the area was a closed military zone.  Al-Debes and Abu Rjeila were making a report on procedures taken by IOF against Palestinian civilians at Huwwara checkpoint. 

 

-          On 12 March 2008, an IOF border guard unit held ‘Ata ‘Oweisat, a cameraman of AFP, for some time.  ‘Oweisat was covering the funeral of ‘Ala’a Abu Dheim[5] in Jerusalem.  IOF aimed at preventing ‘Oweisat from covering the event.  Large numbers of IOF border guards imposed restriction of civilians’ participation in the funeral and prevented journalists from covering the event. 

 

-          On 23 August 2008, IOF held Tamer Hanafi, a reporter of the Egyptian al-Nile Satellite Channel, and other members of his crew at a military checkpoint in eastern Jerusalem for several hours. 

 

-          On 11 September 2008, IOF held Yousri al-Jamal and Ma’amoun Wazzouz, two journalists working for Reuters, for several hours in ‘‘Atsoun military detention center.  Al-Jamal and Wazzouz were making a report on Israeli settlers’ practices aiming at preventing Palestinian civilians in the north of Hebron from accessing their lands that are close to “Karmi Tsour” settlement.  While they were interviewing civilians, an Israeli settler came and phoned to IOF who came and prevented the two journalists from carrying out their job.  IOF drove them to ‘Atsoun military detention center.

 

-          On 18 September 2008, IOF held four cameramen for one hour while carrying out their job near “Doleb” settlement in the west of Ramallah city.  The cameramen were covering IOF evacuation of dozens of Israeli settlers who crowded near “Doleb” settlement.  IOF held the journalists under the pretext that the area was a closed military zone.  An hour later, the four cameramen were released after their employers intervened.  The four cameramen are: 1) ‘Abbas al-Moumni, a cameraman of AFP, 2) Fadi al-‘Arouri, a Reuters’ cameraman, ‘Isam al-Rimawi, a cameraman of WAFA, and 4) Mohammed Moheisen, a cameraman of AP. 

 

-          On 21 October 2008, IOF held the crew of the local Watan TV, composed of Mohammed Madaneya, a reporter, Ibrahim Hammad, a cameraman, and Ibrahim Badwan, a producer, for one hour and a half in Kafr Qdoum village in the east of Qalqilia.  The crew were covering the olive harvest in the village.  International solidarity activists were participating in the olive harvest in the village.  IOF stopped the crew, took the ID cards of its members and held them near an IOF military vehicle. 

 

-          On 2 February 2009, IOF held the crew of Russia Today Satellite Channel while making a report on IOF confiscation of Palestinians’ land in Salfit, northern the West Bank, to be annexed to “Ariel” settlement that is established on Palestinian lands.  The crew included Yafa Eshtaya, a reporter, and Ayman Louzi, a cameraman.  The crew remained held for more than three hours.  While holding the crew members, IOF confiscated their ID cards.  IOF informed the crew that they were prevented from filming as the area is a closed military zone. 

 

-          On 18 March 2009, Israeli armed settlers stopped Jennifer Alice, a Canadian journalist, and ‘Issa Isma’il ‘Amro, a fieldworker of B’Tselem, while passing near the gate of “Kiryat Arba” settlement, southeast of Hebron city.  The settlers detained them for more one hour claiming they were in a closed military zone.  The settlers called a force from IOF and the Israeli police who took ‘Amro and Alice to a nearby Israeli police station.  ‘Amro and Alice were held for further three hours without investigation or charge. 

 

-          On 19 March 2009, IOF held Mohamed Mahariq, a reporter of Quds News Agency, near “Jilo” military checkpoint, near Bethlehem city, while making a report on IOF military checkpoints.  Mahariq remained held by IOF at the checkpoint for approximately eight hours.  IOF claimed that checkpoints are closed military zones. 

 

-          On 12 April 2009, IOF held Diala Jweihan, a camerawoman of Quds News Agency, for seven hours in occupied Jerusalem.  Jweihan was filming Jewish extremists inside the al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem when the Israeli police stopped her and confiscated her camera, bag and mobile.  The Israeli police drove Jweihan to a police station in Bab al-Silseleh in the old city of Jerusalem.  Then she was transferred to another police station where she was interrogated about her hob.  She was told that she was disturbing public order and that she was prevented from filming in al-Aqsa Mosque and in Um Kamel’s Protest Tent for 15 days.  Jweihan was released after seven hours of being held by IOF military police. 

 

-          On 21 May 2009, IOF, positioned at the Container checkpoint near the northeastern entrance of Bethlehem city, stopped a bus transporting a group of journalists on their way from Ramallah to Bethlehem, in a tour organized by the Palestinian Ministry of Information to witness IOF practices against al-Jahalin tribe in Bethlehem. 

 

-          On 29 May 2009, the Israeli military police held Ahmed Jalajel, a cameraman of Palestine Media and Communications Company, and his assistant Ra’ed Sarhan, near the yard of al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.  The policemen confiscated their camera and mobiles and took them to a nearby police station where they were interrogated about taking their cameras into the yard of al-Aqsa Mosque.  The Israeli police continued interrogating Jalajel and his assistant about filming inside the Mosque, claiming it is prohibited unless a permit is obtained from the Israeli police.  Jalajel and Sarhan were held for more than eight hours.  They were released on bail.  They were delivered a summon preventing them from accessing the yard of al-Aqsa Mosque for 15 days. 

 

-          On 14 July 2009, IOF held the crew of the Local al-Watan TV, composed of Nezar Habash, a reporter, Nadia Sarsour, a reporter, Khaled Melhem, a cameraman, Suleiman Abu Srour, a cameraman, and Ibrahim Badwan, assistant, near Sarda village, north of Ramallah.  The crew were in Beir Zeit University when they knew that IOF erupted a flying checkpoint near Sarda village.  They drove there to cover the suffering of civilians at this checkpoint.  When they arrived to the checkpoint, they stepped down and got ready for filming.  However, members of IOF came and prevented them from filming.  IOF confiscated the battery of the camera and detained the crew for more than one hour. 

 

-          On 18 July 2009, the Israeli military police in occupied Jerusalem held Ashraf Shweiky and Hamza al-Ne’aji, cameramen working for Pal Media Company, while trying to access the yard of al-Aqsa Mosque in the old city of Jerusalem.  IOF policemen stopped the two cameramen and confiscated their equipment.  They were then transferred to a police station near Bab al-Magharba and then to al-Qashla military station where they were interrogated about the reasons they tries to enter to al-Aqsa Mosque and to film their.  They were released after three hours. 

 

-          On 30 July 2009, ‘Ammar ‘Awad, a Reuter’s cameraman, was held by the Israeli military police while trying to access the yard of al-Aqsa Mosque to carry out his job.  He was transferred to the police station in the old city.  He was held for three hours under interrogation about the nature of his job.  The police told ‘Awad he was prevented from accessing the yard of al-Aqsa Mosque for one week.  ‘Awad was released after six hours. 

 


 

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 covering events, as they cannot reach the sites.  Restrictions on the movement of journalists include: Denial of permission to travelabroad; 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 22 November 2007, IOF imposed a ban on the delivery of al-Quds, al-Hayat al-Jadida and al-Ayam daily newspapers, that are published in the West Bank, to the Gaza Strip as IOF had closed Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for no reasons.  This ban on the delivery of newspapers continued for three days. 

 

-          On 24 October 2008, IOF prevented Hassan al-Titi, a cameraman working for al-Jazira sattleite channel, from carrying out his job in Thurayet Kafr Qaddoum village, east of Qalqilia city.  Al-Titi was covering IOF attacks on Palestinian farmers and dozens of international solidarity activists who were harvesting olive Thurayet Kafr Qaddoum village.  IOF soldiers forced al-Titi to leave the village after they had threatened him to arrest him. 

 

-          In the beginning of November 2008, IOF imposed a ban on the delivery of the Palestinian al-Quds newspaper, which is published in the West Bank, to the Gaza Strip, after Beit Hanoun crossing had been closed for internationals, including journalists.  The ban imposed on the delivery of al-Quds newspaper has continued up to the publication of this report. 

 

-           On 12 February 2009, IOF imposed a ban on the delivery of the Palestinian al-Ayam Newspaper, which is published in the West Bank, to the Gaza Strip.  IOF informed the driver who delivers al-Ayam Newspaper to Gaza that the delivery of the Newspaper is banned until further notice.  This imposition of ban has continued till the publication of this report. 

 

-          On 7 August 2009, Hassan al-Titi and Abdul Rahim Qousini.  Reuter’s cameramen, were harassed by IOF in order to stop them filming attacks by dozens of Israeli settlers against civilians in ‘Arraq Borin village, near Nablus city.  Three settlers tried to take the camera of al-Titi by force, while other settlers pushed Qousini.  Shortly later, a number of IOF soldiers arrived to the scene and ordered them to leave the scene and stop filming.  Al-Titi is also a reporter of al-Jazeera satellite channel in the north of the West Bank. 

 

-          On 20 August 2009, IOF prevented Sabrin Mohammed Diab, a journalist, from accessing the yard of al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.  Diab was preparing a report for the Egyptian “al-‘Arabi al-Naseri” newspaper, when she was stopped near Bab al-Asbat (Stephen’s Gate) by IOF who asked to search her bag.  IOF asked Diab to stop taking photographs as they claimed the area was a closed military zone.  As Diab entered to the old city of Jerusalem without her camera, another two IOF policemen stopped her and asked her to show her ID card.  They told her that access to the old city is denied to women below 45 years old, even if they were journalists. 

 

Denial of Travel

 

-          On 23 November 2007, IOF prevented Jihad Nakhleh, a cameraman of WAFA, from traveling via al-Karama International Crossing Point (Allenby Bridge).  Nakhleh was traveling to Jordan as a first leg of his travel to France.  IOF prevented him from traveling under the pretext of undisclosed “security reasons”. 

 

 


 

Attacks Against Media Institutions

 

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

 

-          On 12 December 2007, IOF moved into Nablus.  They raided Palestinian media offices on the 5th floors of ‘Antar Building.  IOF soldiers broke the main door of the building and mounted to the 5th floor.  They then broke the door of al-Ruwad media office.  They confiscated 8 computer sets and some documents.  According to Suhail Khalf, the director of the office, he received a phone call from the owner of the building who informed him that IOF troops raided the office and broke the doors.  He did not pay attention to the phone call.  When he went to the office as usual, he noticed the damage incurred to the office and the confiscation of computer sets and documents.  The office belongs to the al-Quds Newspaper, which is subject to Israeli military censorship.

 

-          Also on 12 December 2007, IOF troops raided al-Najah media office, which belongs to Dr.  Farid Abu Duhair, a lecturer at al-Najah National University, on the sixth floor in Kamil Sa’ad al-Din Building in al-‘Adel Street, and confiscated 3 computer sets and some documents. 

 

-          Also on 12 December 2007, IOF troops further seized computers and transmission equipment from the offices of Afaq TV.  IOF delivered an order signed by the commander of the Israeli Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria, to an employee at Afaq TV, stating the TV station closed for security reasons.  PCHR has a copy of this order. 

 

In his testimony to PCHR, Sameh Husni Qanadilo, 30, a reporter of Afaq TV, stated:

 

“At approximately 01:30 am on Wednesday, 12 December 2007, I was on duty in Afaq TV on the seventh floor in ‘Aloul and Salha building in Sufian street in the center of Nablus city.  I was heard something beating the door of the room of Ashraf Abu Shawish, the building’s guard.  I phoned to the guard.  He told me that the Israeli soldiers were under the building and he shut his mobile and climbed down to open the door.  I then immediately opened the main door of the TV office, and climbed down.  When I arrived at the main door of the building, I saw between ten and fifteen Israeli soldiers dressed in the military uniform.  I saw the guard.  He was handcuffed.  He was sitting on his knees and his head placed on the ground.  When the soldiers saw me, they pointed their guns at me.  One of them talked to me in Arabic and ordered me to sit down on my knees and to place my head to the ground, extending my hands ahead.  I obeyed and got my ID card out of my pocket and gave it to them without asking me to do so.  One of the soldiers took the ID card and threw it to the ground and crushed it with his feet.  Then he tied me to a plastic chair.  Every time it tried to move my body, one of the soldiers put his foot on my neck and forced my head down.  He also insulted me every time.  In some times, he place the butt of the gun on my neck and forced my head down and insulted me.  he did the same thing with the guard.  This continued for approximately one hour.  I told them that I am sick and that I needed to take medicine.  Approximately an hour later, a soldier, who seemed to be an officer, came and asked me to get up and walk to the TV station and get the medicine.  I walked and there were six soldiers, including the officer, behind me.  I entered to the TV station.  There was a number of soldiers sitting on chairs and tables.  I witnessed extensive destruction to the contents of the station.  They destroyed the equipment and threw them to the ground.  Then they took me out of the station and forced me to stand un in front of the main door.  The officer then got a piece of paper out of his pocket and gave it to me.  I read what was written in the paper.  I realized it was an order to close the station and confiscate the equipment.  After I read the paper, the officer asked me to stand up in front of a sign indicating the place of the TV station.  He gave me the order and asked me to show it clearly.  He took a photo of me while holding the order.  Then all the soldiers got out of the station and the officer closed the main door.”

 

-          On 11 March 2008, IOF closed al-Quds Radio and al-Majd Radio in Jenin city, in the north of the West Bank.  IOF had raided the two radios and confiscated their contents.  Large numbers of IOF soldiers raided the building where al-Quds radio is located and confiscated the broadcasting equipment and the computers from the radio.  Then they closed the main door of the radio with welding material.  In the same context, IOF raided the local al-Majd Radio.  They confiscated its contents and equipment including, the broadcasting system, the sound control system, the wave stabilizing system, 3 DVDs and a computer. 

 

-          On 24 March 2008, IOF closed the local al-Seraj Radio in Hebron city, south of the West Bank, and arrested a member of its staff.  IOF soldiers raided the radio and search it.  They confiscated all of its equipment including the broadcasting system and filters, the soundboard, four computers and documents.  Also IOF raided the local Menbar al-Hureya Radio in Hebron city and forced its staff to get out.  IOF precisely search the radio and confiscated two computers. 

 

-          On 7 April 2008, IOF raided Ram FM Radio in occupied Jerusalem.  They arrested seven members of the radio staff and confiscated the equipment.  IOF order the responsible for Ram FM Radio to close the radio under the pretext that the radio is not licensed.  The following day, 8 April 2008, IOF released the seven members who were arrested and the Radio began broadcasting again.  It should be noted that Ram FM Radio is owned by a company from Southern Africa and it was officially licensed by the Palestinian authority in February 2008.  The Radio’s main headquarter is in Ramallah. 

 

-          On 5 July 2008, IOF penetrated the broadcasting waves of three local radios; Alwan Radio, al-Quds Radio, and Sawt al-Sha’ab Radio, and recited a statement of the Israeli army warning civilians in Gaza from approaching the buffer zone that extends 300 meters inside Gaza.  This interference took place again the following day, 6 July 2008. 

 

-          On 10 July 2008, IOF raided the local Afaq TV on the seventh flour in ‘Aloul and Abu Sabha building in Palestinian street in the center of Nablus city.  They confiscated the equipment including computers, TVs, broadcasting systems and cameras.  They order the closing of the TV station for two years under the pretext that it “funds activities for terrorist organizations”. 

-          On 20 August 2008, IOF raided Manbar al-Hureya Radio and ONE FM Radio in Hebron city, south of the West Bank.  IOF soldiers informed the staffs in the two radios that IOF Authorities issued an order to close the two radios till a further notice.  Also IOF raided the local al-Majd TV in Hebron city and precisely searched it and misused its contents. 

 

-          On 28 December 2008, IOF bombarded al-Aqsa Satellite Channel, that belongs to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), in al-Nasser Street in the north of Gaza city.  The 5-storey building was completely destroyed as a result.  A store belonging to the channel, which contained media equipment, information materials, a broadcasting vehicle and computer equipment, was also destroyed.

 

-          On 3 January 2009, IOF fired two missiles at the office of al-Risala Newspaper, that belongs to the Islamic Salvation Party, located on the third floor of al-Ajramy building in al-Nasser Street in the north of Gaza city.  The office was partially destroyed and equipment was heavily damaged.

 

-          On 9 January 2009, IOF bombarded the roof of the al-Jawhara building in the center of Gaza city, which is used by the Media Group Company for broadcasting.  Manar Shalloula, 27, journalist, sustained shrapnel wounds in the head.  Shalloula was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital for treatment and his wounds were described as moderate.  Media materials and equipment that were on the roof were damaged as a result of the bombardment. 

 

-          On 15 January 2009, IOF bombarded the headquarters of Gaza Media Center on the fourth floor of the al-Shorouq apartment building in al-Remal neighborhood in the west of Gaza city.  Mohammed al-Soussi and Ayman al-Ruzzy, two cameramen working for Abu Dhabi satellite channel, sustained shrapnel wounds throughout the body.  Gaza Media Center was heavily damaged as a result.

 

-          On 15 January 2009, IOF bombarded the office of Holy Quran Radio, that belongs to the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, on the tenth floor of Palestine apartment building in al-Remal neighborhood west of Gaza city.  Heavy damages were caused to the equipment and to the offices of the targeted Radio. 

 

-          On 13 February 2009, IOF, supported by three military vehicles and an armored personnel carrier, surrounded a two-storey building in ‘Eisi neighborhood, west of Hebron city.  The building contains the office of the local al-Yamama Radio.  IOF soldiers stepped down from their vehicles and raided the building.  They used metal tools to break external and internal doors.  They made a large hole in a wall on the second floor, which contains the offices of al-Yamama Radio.  They raided the offices of the Radio and searched it.  They intentionally damaged the computers and the broadcasting systems and other tools. 

 

-          On 25 August 2009, IOF, supported by five military jeeps, moved into Beit Jala city.  They position in Ra’as Beit Jala area.  A large number of this force raided the office of Bethlehem 2000 Radio.  They disassembled the main broadcasting tower.  They confiscated the broadcasting systems, forcing the Radio to stop broadcasting.  They threatened the technician who operated the Radio from the consequences of the re-operation of the Radio.  Jorge Marcus Qanawati, CEO of Bethlehem 2000 Radio, stated to PCHR’s fieldworker that IOF soldiers raided the Radio and forced the maintenance technician, Farah Qessis, to disassemble the main broadcasting twoer which is produced in Italy by CTE International.  He said that IOF carried the pieces of the broadcasting tower to their vehicles.  Qanawati said that the officer of that IOF force ordered that the director of the Radio attends to the office of the Israeli “Civil Administration” in “Kfar ‘Atsoun” camp.  However, when he went their, they refused to meet him.  Qanawati estimated the cost of the confiscated devices to approximately USD 150,000.  Bethlehem 2000 Radio was established in 1996 and was licensed with the competent body the Palestinian authority.  It meets all requirement of broadcasting, including filters. 

Raiding Journalists’ Houses

 

-          On 16 April 2008, IOF raided the house of ‘Asem Jaradat, the director of the Local al-Majd Radio, in Seilat al-Hartheya village in Jenin.  IOF aimed at arresting Jaradat but did not find him at house.  IOF began searching the house and misusing its contents.  Another IOF force raided Jaradat ‘s father’s house and searched for Jaradat but did not find him.  IOF interrogated the members of Jaradat’s family before leaving.  The Local al-Majd Radio had been closed and its equipment had been confiscated by IOF on 11 March 2008. 

 

-          On 14 May 2008, IOF, supported by military vehicles, moved into al-Koum village, west of Hebron city.  A number of IOF soldiers raided the house of Hassan ‘Awad a;-Rjoub, 24, a journalist, and search the house and misused its contents.  Before leaving, IOF arrested al-Rjoub and drove him to ‘Ofer military detention center.  Al-Rjoub was graduated from the Media section at Beir Zeit University and has been working in media for six months.  He works for the Arab Media Center in Dora, as a correspondent to al-Hal Magazine of Media Development Venter of Beir Zeit University, and as a correspondent to other news websites.  He is also responsible for the management of the website of al-Khalil Radio, which is an under-construction news website. 

 

-          On 13 November 2008, IOF raided the house of Mu’ammar ‘Urabi, the Director General of the local Watan TV and a member in the Board of Directors of Ma’an News agency, in al-Jalazon refugee camp, north of Ramalla city.  IOF searched the house and misused its contents.  ‘Urabi stated to PCHR that a an IOF force with five military vehicles surrounded his house and broke the main door of the house.  He said that 15 soldiers raided the house and held him in a corner in a room.  He added that IOF precisely search the house and that the searching process continued for four hours.  ‘Urabi stated that he talked to IOF and told them he is a journalist.  IOF searched ‘Urabi’s computer, private and work documents, books, the wardrobe, beds, kitchen and all the furniture. 

 

 


 

 

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 illegal 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 have also 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 perpetrated against Palestinian civilians. 

[2] On 8 January 2009, Ihab Jamal al-Weheidi, 32, a journalist who worked for Palestine TV, was killed when IOF directly bombarded a balcony in his father-in-law’s house on the seventh floor in al-Ateba’a Building 2 in Tal al-Hawa in the southwest of Gaza city.  Al-Weheidi was with his mother-in-law, Ruqaya Mohammed Abu al-Naja, 55, in the balcony at the moment of the attack.  His mother-in-law was also killed in the attack, while his wife, Ihsan Jaber Abu al-Naja, sustained serious wounds. 

On 9 January 2009, ‘Ala’a Hammad Murtaja, 26, a journalist who worked for the localAlwan Radio and the local al-Buraq Radio, was killed when IOF bombarded his house in al-Zaytoon in the east of Gaza city.  Murtaja was in his house at the time of the attack.  His mother, Raja’a Ahmed Murtaja, 47, also sustained shrapnel wounds throughout her body and her right leg was amputated as a result. 

[3] On 27 August 2006, Fadel Shana’a, Reuters’ cameraman, and Sabah Hmaida, a journalist who works for the Palestinian Media Group, sustained sgrapnel wounds when an IOF warplane fired a missile at there vehicle bearing clear press markings in al-Sheja’eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza city.  For more details, please see PCHR’s 11th report on Silencing the Press covering the period from 1 April 2004 and 31 October 2007. 

[4] The building had been transformed into offices for Wa'ed Association for Prisoners following Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. 

[5] Abu Dheim.  25, from Jabal al-Mukabber neighborhood in Jerusalem, implemented a bombing in Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in western Jerusalem on 6 March 2008.