IOF Arrest of Palestinian Journalists is to Silence the Press
Date: 26 April 2021
Time: 10:30 GMT
On Sunday, 25 April 2021, Israeli occupation authorities issued a 3-month administrative detention sentence against Alaa H. al-Rimawy (43), a journalist and director of JMedia network. IOF also arrested three journalists at military checkpoints across the occupied East Jerusalem. PCHR condemns IOF targeting Palestinian journalists and considers it a violation of freedom of opinion and expression, asserting the legal protection granted to journalists under IHL as they are considered civilians and that their presence in areas of armed conflict cannot be used as justification or pretext to targeting them, which includes arrests and issuance of jail sentences against them. PCHR condemns IOF wide-scale use of the administrative detention policy in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), which is based on military orders without charge or trial.
IOF had arrested al-Rimawy, who works as correspondent for Al Jazeera Mubasher and runs JMedia network, after raiding and searching his house in Sateh Marhaba neighborhood in al-Bireh, north of Ramallah governorate, on Wednesday 21 April 2021 as per his wife’s, Mimouna al-Rimawi, statement to PCHR fieldworker. Al-Rimawy started a hunger strike immediately in protest to his arrest for his journalistic work. On Thursday, IOF extended al-Rimawy’s detention to Sunday when he was referred to administrative detention.
Earlier that week on Friday, 23 April 2021, IOF arrested 3 journalists at military checkpoints across the West Bank: Mohammed Atiq (27), Mofid Jalghoum (53) both from Jenin, were arrested after IOF stopped and searched the bus they were on, travelling to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Qutaiba Qassem was arrested while travelling from Bethlehem to Jerusalem via military checkpoint 300, northern Bethlehem. Qassem was taken to an unknown destination.
PCHR asserts that these practices falls within IOF’s systemic policy against Palestinian journalists and national and international media covering Israeli violations in the oPt, aiming to silence the truth and prevent coverage of IOF crimes against civilians in the oPt in order to maintain a false narrative that contradicts with reality. In this context, IOF maintains several Palestinian journalists in prison for their journalistic work.
In light of the above, PCHR asserts that:
- These IOF practices are part of the systematic violations committed against Palestinian civilians, and evidence of IOF’s disrespect for international humanitarian law, including the Protocol I additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Hence, it only comes natural to the Israeli occupation, with its long history of violations (killing and arrests) against journalists, to make enemies with the press and journalists in the oPt.
- Calls upon all international press organizations to monitor the conditions journalists operate under in the oPt, and to exert all efforts at the international level to pressure the Israeli government to release al-Rimawy and all other imprisoned journalists.
- Calls upon Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to intervene immediately to stop IOF attacks against Palestinian journalists.