News

August 23, 2019

Israel prevents Palestinian journalist from returning to her job in Turkey

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is shocked to learn that Israeli intelligence prevented a Palestinian journalist from returning to her job in Turkey after spending Eid with her family in the West Bank city of Nablus. In the absence of any explanation, this arbitrary ban must be lifted at once, RSF says.

Majdoleen Hassona, who works for the Arabic-language service of the Turkish state-owned TV broadcaster TRT in Istanbul, was prevented from leaving the West Bank in order to fly back to Istanbul from the Jordanian capital, Amman, on 18 August.

Hassona told RSF that she arrived at the Allenby border crossing in Jericho – where travellers must pass successively through three controls, a Palestinian one, an Israeli one and a Jordanian one – on the afternoon of 18 August.

After being held by Palestinian intelligence despite the intervention of the journalists’ union, Hassona reached the Israeli control point, where she was detained for several hours without any explanation and was finally told that she was banned from leaving the West Bank.

“This travel ban is illegitimate and must be revoked at once if the Israeli authorities cannot justify it,” RSF’s Middle East desk said. “By blocking this journalist in the West Bank, they are obstructing her freedom of movement and preventing her from going back to work.”

Hassona not only missed her 10 p.m. flight from Amman but is now trapped in the West Bank.

“I arrived alone in Istanbul,” her husband, fellow Palestinian journalist Mohamad Kheiry, posted on Facebook. Kheiry, who also works for TRT in Istanbul, told RSF: “She goes to Israeli intelligence every day in an attempt to find out what is happening, and every day they tell her to come back tomorrow.”

This is the first time that Hassona has been banned from travelling but she was arrested by Israeli intelligence in May 2014 and by Palestinian intelligence in December 2014.

Israel is ranked 88th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index while Palestine is ranked 137th.