Bethlehem – Reporters Without Borders has deplored the frequency of alleged press freedom violations by the Israeli military, whose forces the Paris-based press freedom group says routinely fire on Palestinian journalists.
At least eight journalists were injured by shots fired by Israeli soldiers during March in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
“The incidents continue with complete impunity,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The IDF soldiers involved are rarely punished and, less still, disowned by the superiors, who endorse the use of violence against media personnel. It is time this stopped.”
In the most recent incident, Falestin TV journalist Harun Amayra was injured in the foot by a shot fired by an Israeli soldier while he was covering a peaceful demonstration marking Earth Day in Badras, a village to the west of Ramallah, on 30 March. Around 10 demonstrators were also injured by Israeli gunfire. Amayra was hospitalized in Ramallah.
A crew working for satellite TV station Al-Quds were blocked for several hours by Israeli troops at the Qalandiya checkpoint on 25 March while on their way to present a live broadcast from Jerusalem. After interrogating presenter Raed Fathi, the soldiers banned him from entering the city for a week.
Falestin TV reporter Harun Amayra and cameraman Najib Sharoneh were doing a report in the village of Badras on 19 March when Israeli soldiers accosted them, hit them and then detained them for nearly four hours.
The same day, Israeli soldiers banned journalists from entering the village of Ni’lin, near Ramallah, where the reporters had wanted to cover the weekly protest against Israel’s West Bank barrier.
An Israeli soldier fired a tear-gas grenade at photographer Nasser Al-Shouyoukhi of The Associated Press during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian youths on 17 March in Hebron. Rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas canisters were also fired at photographer Issam Al-Rimawi while he was covering events at the Qalandiya checkpoint.
Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets at three Palestinian photographers – Mahmoud Alyan and Mahfouz Abou Turk (who both work for the daily Al-Quds) and Ahmed Al-Gharabli of Agence France-Presse – while they were covering clashes between soldiers and Palestinian youths outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on 5 March.