The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored escalated and dangerous violations against the Palestinian journalists during March 2010.
The Israeli Occupation Forces escalated the attacks on Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Jerusalem, they attacked: AP photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk, Al-Quds newspaper photographer Mahmoud Alian, European Agency photographer Abdel-Hafiz Hashlamoun, Palmedia cameraman Abdul Ghani Natshe, Quds TV correspondent Akram Natshe, and Palestinian Public TV cameraman Mohamed Hmeidat, Al-Fajr TV cameraman Fadi Yassin, Router Agency cameraman Yussri Aljamal, Pal Media cameraman Yousif Shaheen, Palestine cameraman Nader Pabers and Pal Media cameraman Hamza Naaji, AP photographer Nasser Al-Shuokhi, APA image and Alhayat Aljadeda photographer Issam Rimawi, Palestinian Public TV correspondent Haroon Amayreh and the cameraman Najib Sharoneh, and they attacked Palestine TV crew ( correspondent Haroon Amayreh, cameraman Samer Habash and his assistant Shadi Kifayah) for a second time. The Israeli forces also detained European Agency photographer Abdel-Hafiz Hashlamoun, and arrested AP photographer Fadi Hamad, and interrogated Yediot Aharonot newspaper photographer Atta E’oissat.
On the Internal Palestinian level, the attacks against the journalists also increased, where Alhayat Aljadeda correspondent Nofouth Albakri house was raided by unknown individuals in Gaza, also the freelance journalists Mustafa Sabri’s house was raided by Palestinian security services in Qalqilya, they also prevented him from making an interview. The security Services affiliated to the Interior Ministry in Khan Younis city prevented the journalists from covering the visit of the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and treated them badly, and the national security services in Bethlehem prevented journalists from covering solidarity march and assaulted them.
MADA strongly condemns the serious escalations against the Palestinian journalists, specially by the Israeli side, and calls the International community and the Human rights organization to intervene rabidly to stop the harsh reality that the Palestinian journalists are facing, in result of the Israeli attacks and harassment.
On another hand, MADA expresses its concern about the continued campaign launched by the Ministry of Information in the dismissed government against a number of media outlets. The Undersecretary Assistant in the Information Ministry Dr. Hassan Abu Hashish had accused the media outlets that they are responsible or implementing a propaganda war against Ismail Haniya government.
On the International level, MADA denounce the U.S Treasury Department decision to impose sanctions on Aqsa TV, considering that as a clear breach of freedoms of expression. MADA also condemns the American authorities refusal to give the Palestinian journalist Mohammad Almghaier a visa to visit U.S.A. Almghaier applied for visa to visit the United States after receiving an invitation from media, academic and human rights organizations to lecture and to participate in seminars about his press experience in Gaza and the citizen’s lives under siege.
Details of violations:
(5 March) AP photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk, Al-Quds newspaper photographer Mahmoud Alian and Agency France Press photographer Ahmad Gharabli were injured while they were covering confrontations between Israeli Security forces and Palestinian youth in Al-Aqsa mosque, Friday 5 March 2010. Abu Turk said that he was covering clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces in the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque when he was hit by a rubber bullet at the top of his right leg, a rubber bullet hit the camera lens, and broke it, and another bullet hit the other lens, which was in his pocket. He added “Obviously they were firing at me deliberately, and a police officer tried to grab my camera, but I did allow him to do so, and I moved to cover from elsewhere”. Alian said that he was wounded by a rubber bullet in his right leg in Al-Aqsa courtyard, and was treated at the scene. Gharabli said that he was wounded in the head by a stone thrown by young Palestinian during the confrontations.
(5 March) European Agency for Press Photography (EPA) photographer Abdel-Hafiz Hashlamoun, Palmedia cameraman Abdul Ghani Natshe, Quds TV correspondent Akram Natshe, and Palestinian Public TV cameraman Mohamed Hmeidat were attacked by the Israeli Occupation Forces, near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, on Friday 5 March 2010. Hashlamoun said that he was covering clashes near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, when soldiers beat him and pushed him into a nearby wall, breaking his camera, “They tried to stop us from covering the clashes between Israeli forces and young people, where soldiers have launched sound and tear gas bombs “. Abdul Ghani Natshe said that he was doing (stand) for Quds TV correspondent Akram Natshe near the Ibrahimi Mosque, when a group of soldiers attacked us, they beat us with their hands and kicked us when we fell on the ground, then they expelled us with other journalists from the place. Palestine TV cameraman Mohammed Hmeidat who was also in scene, said that the soldiers beat him with their hands and kicked him and they severely withdraw him away from the scene, “They were deliberately insulting us and cause us harm, where I still have difficulty sitting due to the beating effects.”
(7 March) EPA photographer Abdel-Hafiz Hashlamoun was attacked by the Israeli Occupation Forces on Sunday 7 March 2010 in Biet Jala city in the West Bank. Hashlamoun said that he went to cover a protest march against land confiscation in Biet Jala, and while he was covering, he was injured by rubber bullet in his back, which causes him medium injury.
(7 March) Alhayat Aljadeda newspaper correspondent Nofouth Albakri house was raided by men group who claimed that they are affiliated to the Interior Ministry in Gaza Strip on Sunday 7 March 2010. Albakri said that she was sitting in her home at about 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, when she heard harsh knock on her home door. when she opened it she was surprised by the existence of a men group in civilian clothing, one of them told her that they are from the Interior Ministry security, and they want to search the house. She told them that she would not let them search it, because they don’t have an inspection order. But they insisted on that and entered the house. During the search, they told her: “we catch you on the spot, in reference to the papers that were in her house. So she replied: “it’s a normal thing to have working papers, because I’m a journalist, then they left the house”. Albakri added: “The next day I received a call from Huda Naim, the Legislative Council member from the reform and change bloc affiliated to Hamas, where she assured me that she had contacted all the security services and they told her that they didn’t send anyone to my house.”
(9 March) The Freelance journalist Mustafa Sabri house was raided in Qalqilya city in the West Bank on Wednesday 9 March 2010, and he was prevented from making an interview with Al-Quds TV correspondent Musa’b Al-Khasib by Palestinian security Forces. Sabri said that he was supposed to make an interview with Al-Quds TV about the Journalist’s Syndicate and its role in defending the journalists. After Al-Quds TV correspondent Musa’b Al-Khasib and Pal Media cameraman Ashraf Abu Shawish entering his house, Sabri was surprised that more than 20 military and civilian cars surrounded his home, and about ten members of the security services entered inside it, and told them that the interview is not allowed, they confiscated the camera tape, Musa’b and Abu Shawish mobiles phones, and they took both of them to their region headquarters in Qalqilya.
Al-Khasib said: “When we reached there, they asked us what we were doing in journalist Sabri’s house, we told them that we intend to interview him about the Journalist’s Syndicate, so the officer said, that I must obtain permission from the Preventive Security before filming, I told him that this is not legal and we are always filming without permission. He replied that Qalqilya is special case, and all the interviews must get permission for it. Al-Khasib added: “I told him ok, now I’m asking you to give me permission to make an interview with Mustafa Sabri; he replied that at the current time he’s not allowing me to do so.”
(13 March) Al-Fajr local TV cameraman Fadi Yassin was attacked by Israeli Occupation Forces on Saturday 13 March 2010, while he was covering a female march near Atarah checkpoint near Birzeit city in the West Bank. Yassin said that he went Saturday morning to Atarah checkpoint to cover the female protest march against the settlement continuation and the call to stop the Israeli blockade on Gaza. And while he was covering, one Israeli soldier approached him and tried to take his camera by force, but he couldn’t. Yassin added: “after that the solider went away and threw a sound grenade at me directly, which my abdomen, causing medium wounds and burns, so I suffered from difficulty in the movement for two days.”
(13 March) Router Agency cameraman Yussri Aljamal, Pal Media cameraman Yousif Shaheen were attacked by the Israeli Occupation Forces on Saturday 13 March 2010, while they were covering a confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian’s youths in Biet Omar near Hebron city. Aljamal said that the Israeli soldiers attacked him while he was covering the confrontations, and beat him on his stomach and back without a reason, so he sustained bruises all over his body. According to Shaheen he said that a group of soldiers beat him severely and tried to take his camera, so he sustained bruises in his right shoulder, so he put a bandage on his hand for two weeks.
(13 March) EPA photographer Abdel-Hafiz Hashlamoun was detained by the Israeli Occupation Forces on Saturday 13 March 2010, while he was covering confrontations between occupation forces and Palestinian youth in Biet Omar in Hebron. Hashlamoun said that the Occupation Forces detained him about 3 hours to prevent him from filming the events, and when the confrontations had been stopped, they released him.
(13, March) AP photographer Fadi Hamad was arrested by the Israeli Occupation Forces on Saturday 13 March 2010, while he was covering the confrontations in Biet Omar. Hamad said that the Israeli soldiers arrested him around 11:00 am, while he was covering the confrontations, and they took him to the Israeli Police station near Biet Omar, there, they accused him that he hit an Israeli soldier, but told them that he is a journalist and he went there to film not to beat soldiers, after that they released him on 3:30 pm.
(15 March) Palestine cameraman Nader Pabers and Pal Media cameraman Hamza Naaji were attacked by Israeli Occupation Police in Jerusalem. Pabers said that he went on Monday 15 March 2010 11:00 pm, to Al-Asbat Gate area in Jerusalem to film the clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli police. And while he was filming from one of the buildings, the police fired gas grenades on him so he suffocated. They also fired another grenade on his colleague Naaji. And then a police officer approached them and told them: “If you get hurt, we are not responsible about you.”
(15 March) Palestinian Public TV crew (correspondent Haroon Amayreh, cameramen Samer Habash and Najib Sharauneh) were detained on Atarah checkpoint near Birzeit city in West Bank, Monday 15 March 2010, by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Amayreh said that he went with his colleagues to Atarah checkpoint to cover Birzeit university students march. And when they reached the checkpoint the Israeli soldiers prevented them from covering and detained them for hour and half. After that they ordered them to leave the area.
(15 March) Yediot Aharonot newspaper photographer Atta E’oissat was interrogated by the Israeli Occupation Police, because he took pictures when Israeli police car while they hit a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem, on Monday 15 March 2010. E’oissat said that his parents called him while he was working, and told him that the Israeli police is in the house and they need him to come right now, and when he went to his house, the Israeli officer told him that he want to talk with him only for ten minutes. E’oissat added: “after that they took me with them to the investigation center, and interrogated me about the accident, and asked me how I took the pictures and what I was doing in the area. After that the officer asked me if am responsible of the pictures that I’ve took, I answered yes. Then they released me after two hours.”
(16 March) The journalists were prevented from covering the confrontations between the Israeli Occupation Forces and the Palestinian youth in Al-Essawiya town near Jerusalem, on Tuesday 16 March 2010. The Associated Press photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk said that the Israeli army prevented all journalists and news channels crews from covering the confrontations in Al-Essawiya town, where a group of press crews like Al Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, CNN, and others were in the Al-Essawiya iterance, but all of them were prevented from covering , and ordered them to stay away from the area.
(17, March) AP photographer Nasser Al-Shuokhi was attacked by Israeli Occupation Forces, while he was covering confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth near Tareq Bin Ziad school in Hebron, on Wednesday 17 March 2010. Al-Shuokhi said that he was picturing the confrontations about 40 meter from the Israeli Army, and during the picturing, one of the soldiers bombed a gas grenade directly on his back, so he lost conscious, it caused him burns and bruises, and he stayed in 3 days in ALahli hospital in Hebron due to his injury in lesions in the spleen.
(17, March) APA image and Alhayat Aljadeda photographer Issam Rimawi was injured by the Israeli Occupation forces, while he was covering a march near Qalandia checkpoint(north of Jerusalem) in protest of the Israeli occupation authorities opening of “ruin synagogue” in the Old City in Jerusalem, on Wednesday 17 March 2010. Rimawi said that he was covering the march from a far place, but the Israeli forces shot him directly by a rubber bullet, so it hit him in his right shoulder.
(19, March) Palestine TV correspondent Haroon Amayreh and the cameraman Najib Sharoneh were attacked Friday afternoon 19 March 2010 in Bidros village near Ramallah, by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Amayreh said that he went with his colleague Sharoneh to Bidros village west Ramallah to prepare a report, and while they were working the Israeli occupation force approached, beat and assaulted them in barbaric way, and put them near waste water, then they searched the press material that they had. Then they released them after 3 hours and half.
(21, March) Group of journalists were assaulted in Khan Younis city in the south of Gaza strip, by the security men who’s belong to the Interior Ministry of the dismissed government, while they trying to cover the secretary-general of the United Nation Ban Ki- Moon visit, on Sunday 21 March 2010. Safa agency correspondent Ayman Salameh said that the security men assaulted and cursed the journalists in a obscene words, they also were shooting in the air, and preventing the journalist’s cars from entering the place by intercepted them by the security cars, to prevent them from covering Moon visit. Salameh continued: “the journalists were upset because the Interior Ministry announced that all journalists who want to cover the visit have to apply for the Ministry of Information and if they got an approval they should transfer it to the Interior Ministry to get a permit. But after doing these long procedures to get permits, we couldn’t cover the event, but we were humiliated and insulted”.
(29 March) Group of journalists were assaulted by Palestinian national security in Bethlehem while they were covering a protest march against the Israeli occupation forces arrest of Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki and several Palestinian youths, on Monday 29 March 2010. AP photographer Iyad Hamad said that he was covering with group of journalists the march events, but the National Security men ordered us to stop portraying and to leave the area, and when we refused that, they started to push and curse us in obscene words. Maan Agency photographer Louy Sababa said: “The Security men tried to keep us away, and to prevent us from covering, but we have not responded to their demands, so they cursed us directly and treated us in a very bad way”.
(30 March) Palestine TV crew (correspondent Haroon Amayreh, cameraman Samer Habash and his assistant Shadi Kifayah) were injured by the Israeli occupation forces, on Thursday 30 March 2010, while they were covering a peaceful march events on the occasion of Land Day in Bidros village near Ramallah. Amayreh said that the TV crew went to cover the march, and while they were covering he was injured by bullet robber in his left foot, and his colleagues were suffocated and lost their conscious, and they were took the necessary treatment in Red Crescent ambulance which was in the place.