Risks of getting the news for Palestinian journalists
Palestinian journalists attend a sit-in demonstration in front of the Palestinian Security Compound in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on March 30, 2010, to protest the forceful prevention of journalists covering a march the previous day. Photo by Luay Sababa
This posting has 12 items:
1) Reuters: Israeli attacks on Gaza journalists unlawful: rights group;
2) PIC: Israel’s WAR ON TRUTH: Occupation detains five journalists in Bethlehem;
3) PIC: PA intelligence arrests journalist;
4) Committee to Protect Journalists: Israel must explain targeting of journalists in Gaza;
5) CPJ: In Gaza, news outlets targeted, journalists injured;
6) Electronic Intifada: Palestinian forces increasingly join Israel in repression of journalists;
7) CPJ: Israeli soldiers arrest two Palestinian journalists;
8] Ma’an news: Press freedom day ‘a painful reminder’ of decline in media rights;
9) Reporters without Borders: Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian radio journalist at his home near Hebron;
10) CPJ: Palestinian security forces assault journalists at protest;
11)Reporters without Borders: Israeli troops arrest head of Palestinian prisoner channel;
12)Electronic Intifada: PA regime fears our work, says Palestinian journalist arrested for article about youth activist groups;
Palestinian journalists protest against Israeli attack on Gaza media buildings, Ramallah, 18 Nov 2012. Photo by Roee Ruttenberg
Israeli attacks on Gaza journalists unlawful: rights group
By Nidal Almughrabi, Reuters
December 20, 2012
GAZA – Israel’s killing of two Palestinian journalists and attacks on media facilities during its Gaza offensive last month violated the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
Two cameramen working for al-Aqsa TV, a station affiliated with Gaza’s Hamas-run government, were killed by Israeli air strikes on their car on November 20.
Israeli planes also bombed a tower block housing many of Gaza’s local and international media offices, in attacks that Israel said at the time targeted the communications infrastructure and personnel of militant groups.
“Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command centre does not make it so,” Sarah Leah Witson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement released by the New York-based organization.
“Journalists who praise Hamas and TV stations that applaud attacks on Israel may be propagandists, but that does not make them legitimate targets under the laws of war,” she said.
Human Rights Watch said at least 10 media workers were wounded in attacks on three buildings housing media facilities. A two-year-old boy who lived across the street from one of the buildings was killed, the organization added.
Commenting on the group’s statement, the Israeli military said it “acts in accordance with the laws of armed conflict, despite the ongoing deliberate violations and abuse of these laws by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip”.
“The details of the events mentioned in the report are being checked,” the military said in a statement emailed to Reuters. “Once this process is complete, we will be able to provide a comprehensive response.”
Some 170 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and six Israelis, including two soldiers, were killed during the offensive that Israel launched with the declared aim of curbing cross-border rocket fire.
By Palestinian Information Centre
December 18, 2012
BETHLEHEM-– The Israeli occupation forces detained on Tuesday afternoon five journalists in Al-Khader village in Bethlehem during their coverage of one of the Palestinian families suffering due to the Israeli settlers’ repeated attacks against them.
The journalist Mamduh Natshe, a reporter for Al-Quds TV, told PIC that he visited, along with four other journalists, the home of al-Bulbol family who was subjected to frequent attacks by the Israeli settlers and occupation forces, in the area of al-Khader in Bethlehem and Israeli occupation soldier came and arrested them.
The four other journalists are Abdul Ghani Natshe, Pal Media cameraman, Fadi Assa, correspondent for Radio Bethlehem 2000, Iyad Abu Shalbak, photographer for al-Arz company in Jerusalem, and Suhaib Assa, al- Aqsa Satellite channel’s correspondent.
He said that the occupation forces forced them to stop filming, and held them for more than an hour, claiming that they were in a forbidden zone, and examined the filmed material, and informed them that the area is a military zone. The journalists were released sometime later.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian media forum strongly condemned the direct Israeli attack on nine Palestinian journalists, who were detained and tortured in two separate incidents in the occupied West Bank.
The Forum said in a statement on Tuesday that the latest attack took place on Tuesday afternoon where five journalists in Al-Khader village in Bethlehem were detained during their coverage of one of the Palestinian families suffering due to the Israeli settlers’ repeated attacks against them.
The Forum quoted Akram Natsheh as saying that “on 13 December 2012, we received news about the death of a boy at checkpoint 160 in al-Khalil, and immediately we went to the place where we were attacked by a group of Israeli soldiers, estimated to be twenty soldiers.”
The Israeli soldiers fired two shots in the air and told us to lie down. We raised our hands and they started to beat us up aggressively.”
They started to give us different orders, to stand and sit in the same time, while beating us continuously, he added.
The Forum demanded the international journalist unions for urgent action to stop these violations and to prosecute the Israeli leaders.
By Palestinian Information Centre
December 09, 2012
TULKAREM– PA intelligence apparatus arrested Mohammed Awad who works as a reporter with the Ramsat news agency in Ramallah and summoned a young man in Tulkarem.
Local sources in Ramallah said that PA intelligence agents detained Awad, a journalism graduate from Badars village. They recalled that he was previously arrested by the PA security apparatuses and subjected to severe torture.
Another Palestinian youth, Tamer Al-Haj, was summoned by the PA intelligence in Tulkarem for questioning on Saturday.
PA security apparatuses in the West Bank are still holding 35 Palestinian activists behind bars some of them spent years in detention.
From Committee to Protect Journalists
December 2, 2012
Hon. Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
3 Kaplan St.
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,
The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned that Israeli airstrikes targeted individual journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip between November 18 and 20. Journalists and media outlets are protected under international law in military conflict.
A series of Israeli airstrikes struck two buildings that house news media, resulting in injuries to nine journalists, while separate missile attacks resulted in the deaths of three journalists, according to news reports and CPJ research. Israeli officials have broadly asserted that the individuals and facilities had connections to terrorist activity but have disclosed no substantiation for these very serious allegations. CPJ has repeatedly sought, by email and phone, supporting details or evidence from the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson’s office. We have yet to receive information from the spokesperson’s office to substantiate its allegations.
Our research shows the following:
On November 18 and 19, airstrikes targeted Al-Shawa and Housari Tower and Al-Shuruq Tower, both of which are well-known for housing numerous international and local news organizations. The attacks damaged the offices of Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Quds TV, Sky News, Russia Today, Al-Arabiya, and the independent Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency. Among the nine wounded journalists was Khader al-Zahhar, a cameraman for Al-Quds TV who lost his right leg in the explosion, according to news reports. Several other international and local news organizations, including Reuters, Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press, and CNN, also have offices in the targeted buildings. Israeli spokesman Mark Regev told Al-Jazeera English on November 19 that Al-Aqsa TV is a “Hamas command and control facility” and that “Hamas used communication facilities on top of the buildings.” He did not state whether or how Hamas used the station militarily.
On November 20, Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama, cameramen for the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV, were driving away from an assignment at Al-Shifaa Hospital when an Israeli missile hit their vehicle, according to Al-Aqsa TV. The car was marked “TV” in neon-colored letters, the Hamas-run station said. The two men were killed.
A third journalist was killed when his car was hit by a missile that same day, AP reported, citing a Gaza health official. Local news reports identified the victim as Mohamed Abu Aisha, director of the private Al-Quds Educational Radio, whose vehicle was hit while he was driving in the Deir al-Balah neighborhood. The reports did not say whether Abu Aisha was engaged in journalistic work at the time, and CPJ continues to investigate the circumstances of his death.
Al-Aqsa TV, the official Hamas-run television channel, provides news and information that overtly reflect the organization’s anti-Israel perspective. Al-Quds Educational Radio is a private radio station geared toward educational programs; it also provides a pro-Hamas perspective.
On November 20, AP cited Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, as saying the three individuals were Hamas operatives. “The targets are people who have relevance to terror activity,” AP quotes Leibovich as saying. An unsigned entry posted on the Israel Defense Forces blog that day asserted that an individual named Muhammed Shamalah, whom it referred to as a Hamas military commander, had been targeted in an airstrike that struck a vehicle identified as “TV.” Neither Leibovich nor the IDF blog entry provided any details to support the claims. Leibovich reiterated these unsupported claims in a letter to The New York Times published on November 29.
CPJ has contacted the IDF spokesperson’s office multiple times, beginning on November 20 and then again on November 27, 28, and 29, and we have sent three written requests seeking an explanation for its claims. We were directed to a Maj. Zohar Halevi who has not responded to our requests.
Alarmingly, spokeswoman Leibovich seeks to erase the crucial legal distinction between armed combatants and journalists covering the perspective of an adversary. “Such terrorists, who hold cameras and notebooks in their hands, are no different from their colleagues who fire rockets aimed at Israeli cities and cannot enjoy the rights and protection afforded to legitimate journalists,” Leibovich writes in the letter to The Times.
All journalists, whether local or foreign, regardless of the perspective from which they report, are afforded the same civilian protections under international law. The Israeli government does not have the right to selectively define who is and who is not a journalist based on national identity or media affiliation. International law also places strict limits on military attacks on all civilian sites, including media outlets. Article 51 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions prohibits attacks on civilian sites in which potential damage and loss of civilian life “would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.”
We request your government provide an immediate and detailed explanation for its actions in targeting Mahmoud al-Kumi, Hussam Salama, and Mohamed Abu Aisha and the two media buildings in the Gaza Strip.
We ask that you consider this a matter of urgency.
November 19, 2012
New York, –Israeli authorities must immediately halt airstrikes targeting news media offices in the Gaza Strip, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today following a series of strikes that injured at least nine journalists and damaged several offices.
“Israel should respect its obligations under international law and immediately halt its attacks against news media offices,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Authorities know these buildings are home to numerous news organizations whose employees are civilians protected by international law.”
A series of airstrikes beginning early Sunday and continuing today targeted two buildings, Al-Shawa and Housari Tower and Al-Shuruq Tower, which are well-known for housing numerous international and local news organizations, news reports said. The attacks damaged the offices of Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Quds TV, Sky News, Russia Today, Al-Arabiya, and the independent Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency, according to news reports. Both Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Quds TV are affiliated with Hamas, the Islamic party governing the Gaza Strip. Several other international and local news organizations, including Reuters, The Associated Press, and CNN, also have offices in the targeted buildings.
At least seven journalists were injured in the first attack at 2 a.m., when missiles hit the 11th floor of the Al-Shawa and Housari Tower, which is home to Al-Quds TV, news reports said. Khader al-Zahhar, a cameraman for Al-Quds TV, lost his right leg in the explosion and was taken to an Egyptian hospital for treatment, the reports said. Other Al-Quds TV journalists–Omar al-Ifranji, Hussein al-Madhoun, Ibrahim Labed, Mohamed al-Kharis, Darwish Bulbul, and Hazim al-Daawar–were also injured by shrapnel, news reports said.
At about 7 a.m., the second airstrike hit the 15th floor of the nearby Al-Shuruq Tower, home to Al-Aqsa TV, news reports said. No Al-Aqsa journalists were reported injured, but the office was completely destroyed, according to news reports.
Abdel-Ghani Jaber, director of a private Palestinian media production company, told Reuters that two of his employees were hurt when the blast shattered the windows of their office in Al-Shuruq Tower. Jaber did not name the journalists.
Al-Shuruq Tower was hit again by an Israeli airstrike on Monday afternoon, but no journalists were immediately reported wounded, according to news reports.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told Al-Jazeera English that the airstrikes were “not targeting journalists” and that “No foreign journalists were hurt whatsoever” in the attacks. He did not comment on the local journalists who had been wounded.
Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, said the military was aware that journalists were present in the building but that their target was an antenna being used by Hamas: “Hamas took a civilian building and used it for its own needs. So the journalists … were serving as human shields for Hamas,” Reuters quoted Leibovich as saying.
In a separate episode, local journalists reported that the Israeli military briefly took over Gaza radio airwaves on Sunday to broadcast a warning to journalists and civilians: “We recommend that you stay away from the places of terrorists and the infrastructure of Hamas,” the warning said. Al-Aqsa TV also reported on Monday that their transmissions had been briefly intercepted by the Israeli military, which caused static on their airwaves for several hours, Agence France-Presse reported.
On Monday, The New York Times reported that a drone attack had killed the driver of a vehicle believed to be a taxi that was being used by journalists and identified with “Press” signs. News accounts did not report further details, including which journalists had hired the car.
These attacks come amid continuous Israeli airstrikes on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip since last week, in which dozens of Palestinians have been killed, according to news reports.
CPJ documented a wave of attacks against the media by Israel in a month-long barrage of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip between December 2008 and January 2009.
By Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, The Electronic Intifada
28 November 2012
Ramallah–A Palestinian journalist in Gaza City protests the jailing of three journalists. (APA images)
Only hours after being interrogated on libel charges, Jihad Harb was far from intimidated. “When I see anything that’s bad, I’ll write about it,” Harb told The Electronic Intifada. “We need to be united to fight this battle.”
The Palestinian Authority’s Attorney General had called Harb in for interrogation on 31 October in Ramallah. The investigation was held to discuss an article Harb wrote which questioned the hiring and promotion processes employed by the PA.
“A number of presidential decisions related to promotions were issued for employees who did not meet the conditions for senior position,” the August article stated (“Presidential Decisions Made in the Café,” Wattan News Agency, 24 August 2012 [Arabic]).
Harb wrote that some employees were given promotions normally requiring 24 years of experience after only five years. “In 2012, a number of presidential decisions related to promotion were issued without any recommendation decision made by the Council of Ministers — a clear violation of the provisions of the Civil Service Law,” Harb reported.
A regular columnist for Ma’an News Agency and Wattan, among other Palestinian news outlets, Harb was charged with libel, slander and directly insulting employees of the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Harb has been affiliated with Fatah, the Palestinian political party that forms the majority of the current PA government in the West Bank, for 30 years. He spent seven years in Israeli jails for his political activism.
“This is a public issue and we are citizens that give money to the government. Everyone in the president’s office must be accountable to the citizens,” Harb said, adding that he believes “someone at the top” in the president’s office complained about the article.
“Someone in the Palestinian Authority doesn’t like [journalists to be] writing about public issues. They want to stay like a ‘black box’ and not let anyone know how discussions happen,” Harb said.
Political division fueling abuses
Violations of media freedoms are not only taking place in the West Bank, but have been increasingly widespread in the Gaza Strip as well.
In a 35-page report released in 2011 titled “No News is Good News: Abuses Against Journalists by Palestinian Security Forces,” Human Rights Watch found that abuses of journalists by Palestinian security forces increased by 45 percent from 2009 to 2010 (“No News is Good News,” 6 April 2011).
The arrests and harassment of journalists, Human Rights Watch found, were largely political in nature, with PA security forces arresting Hamas-affiliated journalists in the West Bank, and Hamas security forces arresting journalists that are sympathetic to Fatah in Gaza.
Since 2007, following a coup attempt in Gaza to overthrow the elected Hamas government, the occupied Palestinian territories have been divided along political lines, with the PA controlling the West Bank and Hamas governing the Gaza Strip.
“Palestinian security forces are becoming notorious for assaulting and intimidating journalists who are just trying to do their jobs,” Joe Stork, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Middle East director, said at the time. “Both the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza need to end these blatant attacks on free expression.”
In a recent case in Gaza, on 31 October, Hamas security forces prevented three Palestinian journalists from leaving Gaza to travel to Egypt.
According to a statement released by MADA, the Palestinian Center for Rights and Media Freedoms, Egyptian TV correspondent Majed Shiblaq and his wife, journalist Hanan Abu Dgeem, were prevented from participating in a media conference in Cairo due to supposed lack of coordination with the journalists’ union in Gaza and a lack of Hamas representation in the delegation (“Preventing three journalists in Gaza from traveling a rude violation of freedom of movement,” 1 November 2012).
“We have told them that the delegation is professional and not a political one, and nothing to do with political affairs. They told me that we must return to Gaza and request approval from the information governmental office,” Shiblaq said.
MADA has documented a slew of violations against journalists in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, from arrests, intimidation and interrogations, to beatings and torture at the hands of the Palestinian security forces.
MADA Director Mousa Rimawi told The Electronic Intifada that in 2011, the number of Palestinian violations surpassed Israeli violations for the first time.
“Most of the time, in Gaza they are violating the rights of journalists who are affiliated to Fatah, and in the West Bank, they are affiliated to Hamas. When the tension between the two parties, between Fatah and Hamas, is rising, the violations increase also,” Rimawi said.
According to Rimawi, increased violations of media freedoms have led to widespread self-censorship among Palestinian journalists.
“The [political] division led to the deterioration of freedom of expression in Palestine. That led to enhanced self-censorship, which is the most dangerous kind of censorship and that affects the professional level of Palestinian media,” Rimawi said.
Journalist Jihad Harb agreed, adding that the level of investigative journalism in Palestine is very low, partly as a result of this fear of being jailed and intimidated by the security forces.
“It’s a message to all journalists and all the press: don’t write or speak or do anything on public policy and government issues. Cinema, theater, sport, that’s OK. But government policy you can’t touch,” Harb said. “It’s important for the citizens to discuss public issues in the media. It’s our right to discuss these issues and to debate.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian journalists are also being targeted — and killed — by the Israeli army. In the last decade, 16 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli forces, according to a recent report by MADA. In the most recent series of attacks on the Gaza Strip, Israel repeatedly targeted a building in Gaza City which houses local and international media agencies.
October 19, 2012
On October 10, 2012, Israeli soldiers raided the home of Mohammed Atallah al-Tamimi, a Palestinian journalist for the private Tamimi Press Agency in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, according to news reports. Al-Tamimi was arrested and taken to an unknown location, news reports said. Authorities have not disclosed his whereabouts, condition, or the charges against him.
Al-Tamimi, 24, covered weekly demonstrations against settlement expansions in Nabi Saleh, news reports said.
Israeli authorities arrested another Palestinian journalist on June 3, 2012. Soldiers detained Sharif al-Rjoub, a journalist for the Jerusalem-based Al-Aqsa Radio station, after raiding his home in the southern West Bank town of Hebron, according to news reports. Al-Rjoub was taken to the Ofer administrative detention center, news reports said.
Al-Rjoub is the Hebron correspondent for Al-Aqsa and covers daily news about the Israeli occupation of the West bank–in particular, settlement expansion in the area, anti-settlement demonstrations, and Israeli arrests of Palestinian prisoners–Hassan al-Dirawi, head of the news section at Al-Aqsa, told CPJ.
During the three months of his detention, al-Rjoub has appeared in front of a military court once, but his hearing was postponed, according to al-Dirawi. No charges have been brought against him yet. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold detainees for six months without charge or trial and then extend the detention an unlimited number of times.
By Ma’an news
May 04,26, 2012
BETHLEHEM — World Press Freedom Day is a “painful reminder” of the significant decline in media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories, a media watchdog group said Thursday.
Mousa Rimawi, director of the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, or Mada, said such celebrations have meaning only in countries where journalists enjoy a right to opinion and expression.
For Palestinian journalists, Rimawi said, it highlights daily challenges “with increasing violations against media freedoms by the Israeli occupation and security services and Palestinian parties”.
Rimawi said an upsurge in attention about recent Palestinian violations reflected a double standard on the part of the international community and press, which is “remaining silent about Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists and media institutions”.
This attention has “encouraged the Israeli occupation to continue its attacks on journalists, including storming the headquarters of media outlets and confiscating their equipment,” the official said.
He called for the international community to urgently intervene to free journalists Nawaf al-Amer, Amin Abu Warda, Walid Khalid, and Amer Abu Arafeh from Israeli jails. Israel’s detention of these journalists without charge or trial is “a flagrant violation of human rights and international law,” he said.
But he also expressed worry over continued Palestinian violations, citing a growing number of arrests of journalists and bloggers and the blocking of news websites.
“We at MADA condemn all attacks on journalists and reaffirm our commitment to defend media freedoms and freedom of expression,” Rimawi said, noting that Palestinian violations against journalists exceeded Israeli offenses for the first time last year, according to records kept by Mada.
The center called on Palestinian authorities to respect freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed under the Basic Law and to support appropriate working conditions for journalists.
By RSF/Reporters without borders
June 07, 2012
Reporters Without Borders calls on the Israeli authorities to release Palestinian radio journalist Sharif Al-Rajoub and to explain the reasons for his arbitrary arrest by Israeli soldiers at his home in Doura, a town near the West Bank city of Hebron, on 3 June.
“If the Israeli authorities say nothing or prove unable to provide valid grounds for Rajoub’s arrest, we will have to regard it as yet another deplorable attempt to gag the Palestinian media”, Reporters Without Borders said.
The Israeli soldiers searched Rajoub’s home before taking him to a military detention centre. The fact that he works for Sawt Al-Aqsa, a radio station affiliated to Hamas, may explain the raid. As there is no indication that the authorities intend to charge him, the grounds for his arrest may be alleged threat to Israel’s security.
Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of all Palestinian journalists held in Israeli prisons and detention centres, in many cases without any charges being brought against them.
The most recent previous case was that of Bahaa Khairi Attalah Moussa, the head of Al-Asir, a satellite TV station for Palestinian prisons, who was arrested on 17 May near Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank.
July 2, 2012
New York–The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned attacks by Palestinian security forces on at least four journalists who were covering protests against the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah on Saturday and Sunday, according to news reports.
“Palestinian journalists have a right and a duty to document demonstrations,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Authorities are responsible for ensuring that journalists can carry out their work without the threat of assault.”
Muhammed Jaradat, a freelance journalist who contributes to local news websites, was beaten, arrested, and had his camera confiscated by four plainclothes security officials while covering Saturday’s protest, according to news reports. The four men took Jaradat to the police station where he was beaten again with a stick in front of police officers who did nothing to stop the attack, news reports said. He sustained bruises and an injury to his left eye and was taken to a hospital for treatment, the reports said.
Saed al-Hawari, a photographer for Reuters, was beaten and choked by a plainclothes security officer on Sunday while taking pictures, according to news reports. He told the independent Palestinian Ma’an News Agency that his assailant threatened to beat him again if he continued taking pictures and that he suffered from neck pain due to the attack.
Ahmad Mesleh, a freelance photographer, was hit in the back by a plainclothes security official who attempted to confiscate and break his camera but Mesleh fought back, according to an account on Mesleh’s Facebook and Twitter pages and news reports. The man then took him to a police station where he was briefly detained without charge, the same sources reported.
Plainclothes security forces also confiscated a camera Sunday from Ahmed Ouda, a photographer for the local news website Quds Media, news reports said.
A group of protesters gathered in Ramallah on Saturday and Sunday to demonstrate against an upcoming meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shoul Mofaz in Ramallah. Palestinian police broke up the demonstrators by force, beating several people, arresting dozens, and attacking journalists, according to news reports.
This spate of attacks follows the arrest of two critical journalists and the blocking of several critical news websites by the Palestinian Authority in April, CPJ research shows.
By RSF/Reporters without borders
May 21, 2012.
Reports Without Borders strongly condemns the arrest by Israeli troops on 17 May in the West Bank of Baha Khairi Attalah Mousa, the director of the Palestinian Prisoner Channel, a satellite television station for Palestinian prisoners. The soldiers also seized broadcasting equipment, computers, video cameras and documents.
“Such abuses aimed at stifling the Palestinian media must cease,” the press freedom organization said.
“This is the third time since the start of 2012 that the Israeli authorities have victimized a Palestinian media organization. We call for the immediate release of Baha Mousa and the return of all confiscated equipment, especially since the raid, carried out in territory under Palestinians administration, is illegal under international law.”
Israeli forces raided Mousa’s home in the village of Marka south of Jenin in the early hours of 17 May. Without explanation, they arrested the director and searched his house, seizing his professional equipment. Mousa is reported to be detained in the al-Jalama interrogation centre near Haifa.
The station, launched on 1 April, is devoted to news about Palestinian prisoners and their families and also broadcasts cultural programs. It is privately funded and is not affiliated to any political organization.
On 2 April, Israeli security forces raided a Palestinian radio, television and online media network set up by Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem.
Dozens of Israeli police officers invaded the offices of the media centre in the Al-Khaldyeh district of East Jerusalem. The network was part of the university’s Institute of Modern Media, and comprised the radio station Houna Al-Quds and a news agency with the same name. They were ordered to close and some of their equipment was seized.
On 29 February, Israeli troops raided two Palestinian TV stations, Al-Watan and Al-Quds Educational TV, in the West Bank city of Ramallah which is under Palestinian Authority control. Both stations were forced off the air as a result.
By Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada
April 02, 2012
Another Palestinian journalist was arrested by the Palestinian Authority yesterday. Like Yousef al-Shayeb who was arrested last week, Tariq Khamis was arrested for writing things that the PA does not want the public to know.
Khamis, who writes for Zaman Press, told The Electronic Intifada today that the reason for his arrest was more to do with an article about Palestinian youth groups he had written than anything he had written on Facebook.
Khamis said: “The [PA] regime is very similar to other Arab regimes. If the PA had trust in themselves, they would let journalists get on with their work. But because of their mistakes and corruption, they fear the work of journalists”.
A spokesperson for the PA security forces told Maan news agency today that Khamis was arrested ”in connection with the case” of Ismat Abdul Khaliq, who had reportedly called for the “the traitor Mahmoud Abbas” to be overthrown.
Facebook comments not main cause
But Khamis told The Electronic Intifada that while comments he had written about the case on Facebook had been a trigger for the PA to arrest him, during the three-hour interrogation, they had been more interested in his article.
They came to his al-Bireh office on Sunday, to investigate his journalism, he said. They seemed most interested in an article he had written about Palestinian youth groups who are critical of the PA, and who call for ending negotiations with Israel. They asked him who he worked for the benefit of. Update: Khamis emailed this link to the article in question [Arabic].
Khamis told The Electronic Intifada they only released him after word got out that Palestinian journalists were planning a demonstration in Ramallah calling for his release.
Khamis said his article about the incident would be published by Zaman Press tonight.
When asked by The Electronic Intifada whether this was the end of the story, or if the PA would come for him again, Khamis said they would probably come again, since this was the sixth time the PA had interrogated him.
Yousef al-Shayeb released on bail after journalists’ outcry
In related news, Yousef al-Shayeb was released on bail today after a successful appeal.
The journalist had been remanded for 15 days last week. There were unconfirmed reports today he has been released to hospital. He had gone on hunger strike in protest of his imprisonment.
As I reported for The Electronic Intifada, Al-Shayeb had written an article in January in which anonymous sources had accused the PA diplomatic mission in France of spying and corruption.
The Palestinian journalists’ union had called for journalists to boycott a PA journalism award planned for May in protest of al-Shayeb’s arrest.
Lana Khoury provided translation from Arabic for this report.