Recordings gathered by RSF show Israeli security forces still deliberately targeting reporters

After collecting video and audio evidence showing that at least 11 reporters have been attacked or targeted by Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem in recent months, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a continuing pattern of impunity for Israeli violence against journalists. 

These attacks on at least 11 journalists since the still unpunished killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh on 11 May 2022 – when she was “explicitly targeted” by an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) sniper – were recorded by the cameras or microphones of those targeted or by their colleagues while they were covering protests or military operations in the West Bank (or in Jerusalem, in one case). As far as RSF has been able to ascertain, no proceedings have been initiated against any of those responsible for these acts of aggression.

“The visual evidence of journalists being deliberately targeted by Israeli security forces is accumulating amid the most appalling indifference. The perpetrators of these attacks are caught red-handed but the judicial system remains silent. There is an urgent need to end this pattern of impunity and to establish protection for journalists before other tragedies occur.”

Jonathan Dagher
Head of RSF's Middle East desk

RSF has already reported this pattern of impunity on several occasions to the International Criminal Court.  

The photos and screenshots shown below provide visual documentation of incidents reported since Abu Akleh’s death.

 

24/02/2023 - A rubber bullet deliberately fired at a woman journalist near Ramallah

“An Israeli soldier deliberately targeted me while I was filming.” Saja Al-Alami, photo-journalist

The video footage of an Israeli soldier deliberately firing at Saja Al-Alami, a journalist who contributes to the Felestin Post Facebook page, was recorded by Rabeeya Al-Mounir, a photo-journalist and editor working for the Qatari TV channel Al Araby. Clearly aiming at the Al-Alami, the Israeli soldier fired a rubber bullet in her direction. She was targeted despite being explicitly identified as a journalist by the fact that she was wearing a vest marked “Press” and was covering a protest against Israeli settlements near Rammun, a village in the centre of the West Bank.

 

26/01/2023 - Journalists targeted by shots fired during an IDF attack on the refugee camp in Jenin

“This was deliberate targeting, because our identity as a journalists was clearly visible” Laith Jaar, journalist

Laith Jaar, a reporter for the Palestinian news website JMedia, was providing the Palestinian TV channel Watan with live coverage by telephone during an IDF assault on the refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on 26 January 2023 when bullets began to whistle around him, his colleague Hafez Abu Sabra, and the freelance photo-journalist Mahmoud Fawzi. In a dramatic recording of the attack, you can hear the shots and Jaar shouting that he and his colleague are coming under fire from the “occupation forces”.The line then suddenly goes dead.

 

16/12/2022 - Tear Gas grenade deliberately fired at journalists  

“We were all wearing press vests explicitly identifying us as journalists, so we were deliberately targeted.” Al Jazeera Mubasher correspondent Mohamed Samreen

Al Jazeera Mubasher journalist Mohamed Samreen and Palestine TV journalists Muhammad Al-Khatib and Fadi Al-Jayousi were covering a protest against the Israeli occupation in Beit Dajan, in the north-central West Bank, on 16 December 2022, when Israeli soldiers suddenly fired a teargas grenade at them. There is absolutely no doubt that they were deliberately targeted although they were clearly identifiable as journalists doing their job.

 

20/10/2022 - A photo-journalist attacked by an Israeli soldier in Al-Bireh

“An Israeli soldier got out of his car, shot tear gas in my direction, and then pushed me.” Motasem Saqf al-Heit, photojournalist for Al-Quds

In these photos, you can see an Israeli soldier physically attacking Motasem Saqf Al-Heit, a photo-journalist with the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, who had gone to cover a protest in the central West Bank city of Al-Bireh on 20 October 2022. The Israeli soldier kicked him and then prodded him with his automatic rifle although he was clearly identifiable as a journalist by the word “Press” across the chest of his vest and by the professional camera he was holding.

 

05/10/2022 - Two journalists wounded by gunfire in Deir El Hatta

“Our colleague Bakr had just begun his live broadcast when snipers with the occupation forces fired directly at all of us.” Louay Samhan, a journalist with Palestine TV

Freelance photographer Mahmoud Fawzi and Louay Samhan, a cameraman with the Palestinian Authority TV channel Palestine TV, were wounded by shots fired by Israeli snipers while trying to cover the clashes that followed an IDF raid on the home of an escaped Palestinian prisoner in the northern West Bank village of Deir El Hattab on 5 October 2022. Two different cameras recorded the scene, providing a chilling vision of the conditions in which reporters work in Palestine. In the first recording, you can hear the bullets whistling towards the journalists, their cries of pain and their calls for help. The second video shows the two journalists in a state of shock, one struggling to stand up and the other being evacuated by his colleagues.

 

26/09/2022 - A journalist physically attacked by Israeli police in Jerusalem

On 26 September 2022, many journalists were heading for the Al Aqsa Compound (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem, where pilgrims and Israeli ultranationalists planned to gather for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The Israeli authorities prevent reporters from covering this gathering every year at the same time, and there are often clashes. During this year’s clashes, the Turkish news agency Anadolu’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Anas Janli, was violently pushed to the ground on a stairway by an Israeli police officer in an attack filmed by colleagues.

The many blatant attacks on journalists by Israeli authorities amply demonstrate the continuing pattern of impunity that RSF has repeatedly reported to the International Criminal Court.  

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