Israeli journalists come under fire

New York, August 12, 2002-The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is alarmed that an Israeli reporter and his photographer came under Israel Defense Forces (IDF) gunfire yesterday in the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

On August 11, Gideon Levy, of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, his photographer, Miki Kratsman, their driver, and a representative from an international human rights organization were traveling by taxi in Tulkarem. As they approached the IDF’s District Coordination Office (DCO) at about 15 kph (10 mph), they came under fire from a soldier at a lookout post about 150 meters (165 yards) away. Three bullets hit the armor-plated taxi’s windshield, but no one was injured.

The journalists were operating in the area with permission from the IDF and were traveling in a white armored Mercedes with Israeli license plates.

The army apologized for the incident and said the unit that opened fire had not been informed that the journalists had permission to be in the area.

An Army spokesman told CPJ that the soldier responsible for firing the shot will not be punished, but his commanding officer will receive a suspended 21-day jail sentence. In addition, the IDF ordered that a second soldier will be confined to base for 35 days for failing to alert the unit that the journalists had permission to be in the area.

According to Levy, the army did not contact him in connection with any investigation.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information about press conditions in the Middle East, visit

For further information, contact Joel Campagna (x 103) or Hani Sabra (x 104) at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail:,,; Internet: