Reporters Without Borders condemns mistreatment of Palestinian journalists
Palestine-Israel, Politics, 8/26/2011
Reporters Without Borders reported Tuesday about what it described as "the complete failure to punish abusive treatment of Palestinian journalists by the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank."
It said in a statement that Israel carried out "many arbitrary arrests" in the past two months arresting five journalists.
Cases of Israeli soldiers deliberately firing on media personnel have also been reported, is said.
"We urge the Israeli authorities to investigate these serious violations of physical integrity and to free all the detained journalists," said Reporters Without Borders.
The latest victims of arbitrary arrest were Usaid Abd Al Majid Amarana of Al-Aqsa TV, and Amar Abu Urfa, a reporter for the Shahab news agency, who were arrested in their homes on August 21.
After storming into Amarana's home in the Dahishe refugee camp in Bethlehem, soldiers opened fire, wounding his cousin. They then searched the building before taking Amarana away. This is not the first time he has been detained, said the statement. The Israeli army used similar methods when arresting Urfa in Hebron.
Samir Allawi, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin who heads the Al-Jazeera bureau in Afghanistan, was arrested at the Al-Karama (Allenby) crossing as he was leaving the West Bank on August 9 to return to Kabul via Jordan. He was taken to the Jalameh interrogation center in Kishon (north of Tel Aviv) and, on August 16, he was brought before a military court which ordered him held for another eight days. A further 15-day extension of his detention was ordered on Monday.
Allawi's lawyer, Selim Ouakim, told Reporters Without Borders that the charges against him have evolved over the days. He was initially accused of "relations with terrorist movements" (namely Hamas) but now he is accused of activities that could endanger regional security and, by extension, Israel's security.
Mohammad Bishara, a 25-year-old journalist, was arrested by the IDF at his home in Tamoun, a village to the southeast of Tubas, in the northern West Bank, on July 10. No reason was given for his arrest and he continues to be detained.
Al-Quds TV presenter, Nawab Al-Amer, was arrested at his home in Nablus on June 28 without any reason being given and was placed in administrative detention for a five-month period that is renewable. After initially being held at a provisional detention centre in Howareh, he was transferred to Mejiddo prison, which is a few kilometers outside Jenin but within Israeli territory.
"Reporters Without Borders was shocked to learn that IDF reservists deliberately fired on a group of journalists who went to cover the weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh (a few kilometers outside Ramallah) on July 29, and calls on the Israeli authorities to investigate this case. Many journalists were attacked in the course of July," said the statement.
Nabi Saleh has for weeks been the site of regular protests against the Israeli occupation and the separation wall. The Israeli authorities declared the village and surrounding area to be a "closed military zone" because of the "risk of public order disturbances," allowing them to tighten control over access to the village and contain the protests and coverage of them by the media.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers isolated the village before the start of the demonstration on July 29, using force to push the protesters back and using force against a group of 10 journalists, although they were clearly identified because they were wearing blue vests with the worlds "Press" or "TV."
One of the journalists, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida photographer Mahib Al-Barghouthi, sustained bruises and cuts to the face when he was thrown to the ground by an Israeli soldier, while other soldiers damaged his video camera and erased its hard disk. He was then taken away in a military vehicle and released a few hours later on the road between Nabi Saleh and the nearby village of Kafr A'yn. His camera was later returned to him without its hard disk.
Hazem Bader, a photographer working for the Associated Press, sustained injuries to the feet from a stun grenade fired by an Israeli soldier while covering a demonstration in support of residents of Al-Tawani, a village south of Hebron, on July 9. He is still suffering from multiple burns.
The journalist Mustapha Sabri was forbidden to pass the Al-Karama crossing when he tried to travel to Jordan on July 8.
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