11/17/18 | International Solidarity Movement | Ramallah Team
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) decided to hold its annual meeting in Palestine this year, where they demonstrated at the infamous Qalandia checkpoint, on Saturday. Dozens of journalists, holding only international press cards, were immediately met with canisters of tear gas.
âWe went peacefully, wearing IFJ uniforms and carrying IFJ cards. Itâs obvious that it was journalists who were demonstrating,â explained Nasser Abu Baker, Chairman of the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate, a representative to the IFJ. Nasser was one of the many journalists fired upon at Qalandia. âIn the last four years there were three 3,000 crimes committed against journalists, 26 of which were murdersâŠ Itâs obvious that the Israeli leadership couldnât accept our demand for freedom of movement, and the scene of IFJ being there, standing with Palestinian journalists.â
Lack of freedom of movement is a common experience for Palestinians in the West Bank, most of whom are unable to leave. The few who leave the West Bank for work face the physical torment of waiting in line for hours, crammed together in zig-zagged cages, and facing the high probability of Israeli aggression.
Qalandia checkpoint is the subject of much reported abuse, though none of this would be known if it wasnât for the Palestinian press. But their reporting has come with a price: It has created huge controversy and caused them to suffer incredible abuse. Todayâs demonstration was no exception.
In Nasserâs words: âThis was a crime against Palestinian journalistsâŠ It was crime against the internationalÂ press.â
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Christopher Carlson is a full-time student of Religious Studies at Mount Mercy University, USA. He has been with the IMEMC since 2013. (firstname.lastname@example.org)