Israeli violations of press freedom

Journalists attacked in Nablus by Israeli soldiers

The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports that Israeli soldiers have attacked Palestinian journalists covering unrest in the West Bank city of Nablus on at least two occasions this month. On April 17, soldiers fired at a group of cameramen and photographers covering an Israeli army raid on a house in the Old City of Nablus. The journalists said they were filming the raid, and clashes between soldiers and stone-throwing youths, from a distance of about 500 yards (meters), beside an AP vehicle that was clearly marked “Press.” They were wearing phosphorus green vests labeled “Press.” 

Palestinian PM urged to punish gunmen who attacked TV bureau

Reporters Without Borders condemned a 5 June 2006 attack on Palestinian national TV installations in the south of the Gaza Strip and urged Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to put a stop to violence against journalists in the Palestinian territories. Witnesses blamed the attack on gunmen of the Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. “It is essential that effective measures are taken to ensure the physical safety of journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. 

Palestinian journalists attacked, threatened by leading factions

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by attacks and threats against the press in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by suspected members of the two major Palestinian parties, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Fatah movement. On Monday, nearly 50 armed militants stormed a studio of Fatah-affiliated Palestine Television in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. The attackers ordered staff to leave, and beat several cameramen and technicians. They fired at the equipment and in the direction of employees. 

Israeli authorities restrict Gaza press access

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about Israeli government restrictions on journalists attempting to report from the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday that Israeli passport holders and dual nationals would be prohibited from entering Gaza. “Due to the current security assessments journalists with Israeli citizenship or those holding a dual citizenship cannot enter the Gaza Strip at the present time,” a statement said. 

Ma'an news agency Gaza photographer shot and seriously injured

Young photographer Mohammad Az Zamoun was seriously shot and injured by shrapnel from Israeli projectiles. One hit his mouth and teeth and cut his finger. The other hit him on his body. In spite of that, he continued to work, strangely insistent. Then the Israeli soldiers aimed their weapons directly at him and shot him in the stomach. He fell instantly to the ground with his camera. Eyewitnesses said that he fell to the ground shouting, “Where is the camera? There are many photos in it which are witness to the killing of Palestinians; there are many photos of the Palestinians who have been killed.” 

Media watchdog calls for the release of three journalists kidnapped in Gaza City

Reporters Without Borders has voiced concern about the kidnapping of two French journalists, Caroline Laurent of “Elle” and Alfred Yaghobzadeh of “Sipa”, and South Korean journalist Yong Tae-young of KBS on 14 March in Gaza City, hours after an Israeli army raid on a prison in the West Bank city of Jericho. “We call on the kidnappers to free their hostages, who were just doing their job as journalists and can in no way be held responsible for Israeli army operations in the West Bank, and we call on the Palestinian authorities to do everything possible to locate them and ensure they are returned safe and sound to their families,” the organisation said. 

Journalists, others kidnapped as prison siege sparks violence

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by reports that Palestinian gunmen abducted journalists and other foreigners in Gaza City today. A wave of violence erupted in Gaza and elsewhere in the West Bank, after Israeli forces laid siege to a Jericho prison to arrest militants believed responsible for the 2001 assassination of an Israeli minister. CPJ sources said as many as four South Korean and French journalists were abducted from Gaza’s Dira hotel. Armed kidnappers stormed the hotel this afternoon, according to news reports, which said one gunman was killed in a confrontation with Palestinian police. 

No excuse for silence over travel ban on journalist Anton Shalhat

The distinguished journalist and literary critic Anton Shalhat was this month banned from leaving Israel until the end of the year, on the advice of the Shin Bet domestic security service. A year-long travel ban was issued on January 17, following the approval of two temporary orders - the first signed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the second by an Interior Ministry official - in late December. An accompanying letter from the Interior Ministry says that the decision to bar Mr Shalhat from leaving the country is based on classified information that he may “harm the security of the state”. 

Vanunu will appear in court for talking to press

The International Federation of Journalists has called for an end to official harassment of Mordechai Vanunu - the man who told the world that Israel possessed nuclear weapons - as Israeli judges moved to send him back to jail for speaking to journalists. Vanunu will appear in court tomorrow, charged with violating restrictions that prevent him leaving the country and ban him from speaking to foreigners. If found guilty, he could be jailed for nine months on a total of 21 criminal counts. “This man has served his time for revealing what everyone has known for many years,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Now he is being harassed simply for talking to journalists.” 

Al Arabiya journalist barred in latest case of discrimination against Arab media

Reporters Without Borders has said it shared the outrage of the pan-Arab satellite TV station Al Arabiya, which issued a statement on 27 December 2005 condemning an Israeli decision to ban one of its correspondents, British journalist Bassem El-Jamal, from entering the Palestinian Territories. The ban is the latest in a long series of press freedom violations by the Israeli army against the Arab media. “We call on the Israeli authorities to immediately lift the ban on Bassem El-Jamal, for which there are absolutely no grounds,” Reporters Without Borders said, adding that it was vital for journalists to be able to freely cover the run-up to the Palestinian legislative elections on 25 January 2006.