During an early Tuesday morning invasion of the village of Kafer Dan, near the West Bank city of Jenin, the Israeli army arrested the Mayor of the village, Moustafa Ashour and his three sons.The troops stormed  the home  after surrounding it, upon entering the house, soldiers searched the family belongings before arresting  64 year old Moustafa Ashour, and his three sons: Mohammad 23, Nour 24, Omeid 17 and taking them to an unknown location.

The Mayor had spoken with reporters yesterday concerning the desperate situation the village was facing – how the schools had been forced to close due to the daily problems faced by teachers and students trying to pass the soldiers and roadblocks of the Israeli army.  Villagers suspect that the Mayor and his family were arrested because he dared to speak publicly about the situation, as a way to “shut him up”.

Freedom of the press to report on the conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has become an increasingly contentious issue since the Israeli government began all reports from the Palestinian Occupied Territories to go through the Israeli Military Censor’s office before being released to the public.

According to the International Press Institute, there have been 562 incidents of press freedom being violated in Palestine since 2000, 91% of which were carried out by Israeli authorities.  “Out of a total of 562 incidents there were twelve journalist deaths. Journalists and media workers have been targeted and injured with missiles, live ammunition, shelling, shrapnel, ricochets, and rubber-coated steel bullets, and they have been harassed and physically assaulted in other ways. (Rubber-coated steel bullets are supposedly used by the Israeli army mainly against stone-throwers. Unlike rubber bullets, they are sometimes lethal.)  Out of the 213 violations that involved shootings, shellings, bombings and missile attacks, 204 were carried out by Israelis, four by Palestinians, and five by unknown perpetrators.”

As of Tuesday evening, Israeli Army troops are still surrounding the village for the second time, closing its entrance with roadblocks and military vehicles, and preventing anyone from leaving or entering.