Reporters Without Borders has voiced strong condemnation of a 19 July 2006 Israeli army attack on Al-Jazeera TV reporter Jevara Al-Budeiri and her crew in the West Bank town of Nablus, in which one of the crew’s technicians, Wael Tantous, was hit in the foot by rubber bullets. The crew was broadcasting live at the time.
“We are very concerned about repeated, deliberate acts of violence against the staff of the satellite TV news station Al-Jazeera,” the organisation said. “We call on the Israeli authorities to give clear orders to stop these acts of intimidation and harassment. The army has no right to prevent this station’s journalists from covering the current clashes.”
Al-Jazeera said in a statement: “Since the start of the current war on Lebanon, Al-Jazeera crews have consistently been targeted by the Israeli authorities, resulting in a constant hindrance and obstruction of their work. Today they tried to attack our reporter, Jevara Al-Budeiri, and fired at technician Wael Tantous.”
Al-Budeiri said: “Our colleague was hit by Israeli shots, on screen live. You can clearly see that the shots came from Israeli jeeps and tanks.”
The Al-Jazeera management told Reporters Without Borders that Tantous was out of danger and had left the hospital to which he was taken after the shooting. Al-Jazeera was covering the current fighting in an objective manner, the station stressed.
The Al-Jazeera crew had been giving live coverage of an Israeli army incursion into Nablus when an Israeli jeep suddenly approached Al-Budeiri at high speed. Then shots were fired and Tantous was hit.
Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief in Israel, Walid Al-Omari, was arrested twice in the past two days while covering the clashes on the border with Lebanon. The members of another TV crew were briefly detained by the Israeli police in Haifa on 17 July.