Reporters Without Borders is concerned by new round of Israeli arrests of Palestinian journalists in Jerusalem and the West Bank in the past few days, suggesting that a tougher line is being taken towards the Palestinian media. The organization previously condemned a wave of arbitrary arrests of Palestinian journalists in August.
The latest arrests come less than two weeks after the arrests of five foreign journalists aboard two Gaza-bound vessels carrying humanitarian supplies which were intercepted by the Israeli navy on 4 November.
Isra Salhab, 26, the presenter of a programme about Palestinian prisoners on the satellite TV station Al-Quds, was summoned for questioning and arrested by the Israeli police in Jerusalem on 16 November. After interrogating her for two hours, the police contacted her parents to tell them “your daughter has been arrested” but did not say why.
She was subsequently brought before a military court for a closed-door hearing in which she was not represented by a lawyer. The court postponed a decision until 21 November. Salhab meanwhile continues to be detained.
Radio Marah presenter Raed Sharif was arrested by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 14 November. The soldiers first went to his father’s home and interrogated him in order to get him to say where his son lived. The father said the soldiers seemed very tense.
An Israeli military court in the West Bank town of Salfit has also just ordered a six-month extension to the detention of Walid Khaled, the editor of the Gaza-based newspaper Filisteen, without giving any reason. Arrested by Israeli soldiers at his home on 8 May, he has already spent six months in detention. He previously served a four-year jail sentence.
Reporters Without Borders condemns this latest surge in harassment and intimidation and calls on the Israeli authorities to free the journalists being held arbitrarily.