The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called on the Israeli Army to explain a shooting incident Wednesday in Nablus, in which a news crew of TV satellite channel Al Jazeera was fired upon and a technician was shot in the leg. In response, the Israeli branch of the international press organization quit the IFJ rather than respond to the criticism.
"First reports suggest that here was an unarmed media crew suddenly subject to an unprovoked attack by Israeli soldiers," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "If true, it is an astonishing and terrifying example of targeting and the Israeli authorities must give an explanation as to how this happened."
According to Al Jazeera, correspondent Guevara Al Budeiri was in the process of filming a live report when the team was interrupted by a fast-approaching Israeli military vehicle. What follows next is confusing but there was firing and technician Wael Tantous was slightly injured. He was treated at a hospital and later released.
"Israel needs to make an immediate and clear account of this incident," White said. "It appears that a news crew trying to carry out its normal work has been subjected to unacceptable intimidation and it adds to our concerns about the safety and security of journalists working in the region at the present time."
Media casualties have been mounting in the region, with a number of journalists injured in the crossfire in Lebanon and northern Israel and controversy over Israel’s attack on the Lebanese broadcaster Al-Manar.
The IFJ has sent a letter to the Israeli Army Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, and to Minister Amir Peretz, calling for an explanation of what happened in this incident and for action to be taken against any soldier who has acted inappropriately.