Palestinian journalist loses eye to Israeli bullet

Palestinian photojournalist Moath Amarneh was seriously injured while covering protests in Surif, near the West Bank city of Hebron, on 15 November.

Mosab Shawer APA images

On Monday, doctors removed the left eye of a Palestinian photojournalist after he was injured by shrapnel from an Israeli bullet days earlier.

The photographer, Moath Amarneh, was covering protests over Israeli land confiscation in Surif, a Palestinian village in the Hebron area of the occupied West Bank, when he was injured on 15 November.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the shooting of Amarneh and called on “Israeli authorities to immediately open an investigation into the incident and hold those responsible to account.”

Amarneh was leaving the protest when Israeli forces fired a bullet that hit a nearby object. The bullet exploded and shrapnel hit Amarneh’s eye, he told the Arabic-language news site Al-Dostor.

Photojournalist Oren Ziv interviewed journalists who witnessed Amarneh’s injury. They told him that Israeli Border Police forces were using 22-caliber Ruger rifle bullets against Palestinian demonstrators.

“The officers did not offer [Amarneh] medical aid and delayed his evacuation from the scene,” Ziv reported.

Video shows that Amarneh was wearing a helmet and a flak jacket marked as “Press” when he was injured.

The video also shows Israeli soldiers harassing Amarneh, shoving a camera near his bleeding face, as he is walking away with the assistance of two other men:

On Sunday, Israeli occupation forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets at journalists protesting the injury of Amarneh in Bethlehem.

Ten people were injured, including Munjid Munjid Jadu, director of the Palestine News Network, who was struck in the head by a tear gas canister, according to the press freedom group Mada.

Journalists, human rights workers and others in Palestine, the wider Arab region and beyond expressed solidarity with Amarneh by covering their left eye during broadcasts and in photos posted on social media.

Members of the Jordanian parliament participated in the solidarity campaign. Palestinian Authority officials did as well, drawing criticism because PA security forces have previously detained Amarneh.

In 2014, security forces in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, beat Amarneh and confiscated his equipment during a rally called for by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate protesting infringement of press freedoms.

Video from the rally shows Palestinian Authority security forces arresting Amarneh:

Arabic-language outlets reported that Amarneh was among the journalists present when Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man in the streets of al-Arroub refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Hebron, early last week.

A photo published by Palestinian media outlets is said to show the family of Omar al-Badawi, the man slain in al-Arroub, expressing their solidarity with Amarneh:

In a video message, Amarneh thanked those who expressed their support:

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.