August 30, 2019

Israeli police throw stun grenade at photographer

The Israeli police obstructed the media’s right to inform when they deliberately threw a stun grenade at one Israeli reporter and arrested another as journalists covered police raids in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Isawiyah in East Jerusalem on the night of 28 August, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

Emil Salman, a photographer for the Israeli daily Haaretz, was filming four policemen when, as his video recording clearly shows one of them pointed towards him and another then threw a stun grenade at him, although no other person was anywhere near him at the time. Salman managed to dodge the grenade, which exploded on the ground. ““The police saw that I had a large camera and also had seen me previously,” Salman is quoted as saying in Haaretz’s report on the raids. It was impossible to mistake [the fact] that am a journalist“, he added. 

A police spokesperson said,““media crews had been asked to move away from the area due to concern over loss of life.” The spokesperson added that the police would “continue to permit the journalistic activity of media personnel in Isawiyah.”

“Deliberately targeting a photographer with a stun grenade – which could have injured him – on the grounds of protecting lives is both absurd and a violation of the right to inform.” RSF’s Middle East desk said, condemning this flagrant obstruction of the media’s work.  

During the same police operation in Isawiyah, a Channel 13 crew was ordered to leave the area and then one of them, reporter Yossi Eli, was arrested. He was released half an hour later at the suggestion of a police officer who said: “He's Israeli. Let him go.” He was nonetheless warned that he would be arrested again if he did not leave the neighbourhood.   

Israeli is ranked 88th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.