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PCHR Condemns Confiscation of Palestine TV Vehicle by IOF in Tubas

Ref: 102/2020

Date: 30 September 2020

Time: 10:45 GMT

On Monday, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) confiscated a vehicle belonging to Palestine TV and handed the driver a confiscation warrant, under the pretext that the vehicle and Palestine TV its staff were present in a closed military zone in Jordan Valley, east of Tubas.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns this blatant attack by IOF and affirms that it is a continuation of a systematic Israeli policy against press crews, and Palestinian and international media agencies operating in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), to obstruct their work and prevent them from revealing the truth about Israeli violations. PCHR also considers these violations part of a well-planned scheme to isolate the oPt from the rest of the world and to eliminate stories about IOF crimes against Palestinian civilians.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 10:20, on Monday, 29 September 2020, the Palestine TV reporter in Tubas, Ameer Shaheen, headed to Kherbet Yerza in northern Jordan Valley, east of Tubas, to cover the demolition of two houses by IOF. The reporter arrived at the area in a Palestine TV vehicle, driven by Suliman Hejjeh (34). Upon their arrival, the two journalists saw an SUV of the Israeli Civil Administration present in the area to secure the demolition of two houses by Israeli bulldozers. Shaheen stepped out of the vehicle, 500 meters away from the two houses, and started to photograph the demolition. Meanwhile, Hejjeh said that: “Five minutes after our arrival, an Israeli liaison officer came and asked for my ID card and I gave it to him. He took it to another officer and then returned and told me to take everything from the vehicle because he would confiscate under the pretext of being in a closed military zone. They confiscated the vehicle and took it to an unknown destination after allowing us to take our belongings from it. The officers handed me a confiscation warrant. Hejjeh added that his colleague Shaheen continued to photograph the demolition for half an hour until it was over. He called Tubas Governor and told him about the incident. The Governor sent a taxi for them to take them to Palestine TV office in Tubas.

PCHR believes that these practices are an extension of the systematic violations against Palestinian journalists, and evidence of the Israeli disregard for international law, especially Article (19) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, which affirms freedom of access to information and impart it, regardless of frontiers.

PCHR calls upon all international press organizations to continue to follow up the violations against journalists in the oPt and make every effort to pressurize the Israeli government in order to stop its crimes against Palestinian civilians and their properties in general and against journalists in particular.