The Palestinian Journalists Society (PJS) strongly condemned the suppression of the march of International Federation of Journalists towards Qalandia checkpoint, by Israeli occupation forces, through intensive use of toxic tear gas and sound bombs, which caused the injury of the PJS president Nasse Abu Baker, by a tearing gas bomb that targeted his shoulder and caused many others to choke. One of the victims, journalist Adriana Hurtado, Colombian member of executive committee of International Federation of Journalists, and colleague journalist Manal Khamis, a PJS board member, needed to be transferred to medical clinic.
PJS has considered the brutal assault against the march, which had been announced prior to entering Jerusalem with international press identification and the participation of the president of IFJ, as a clear aggression against all world’s journalists, a disrespect of all international conventions and treaties, and a clear violation of journalists’ right to work and move freely in all occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem.
PJS affirmed that this assault, which has taken place before world journalists’ leaders, is an expression of arrogance of the occupation and the racism harbored by the Israeli state.
Moreover, PJS confirmed that the targeting of all free voices defending Palestinian rights, and the poor attempt to obstruct journalists to do their duty to uncover the occupation’s crimes against Palestinian people, are clear messages to the world, that violence and power is the only logic that the state of occupation understands and practices.
The PJS stressed that this assault won’t affect the agenda of IFJ meetings and international conferences. As well, it won’t obstruct journalists of doing their duties, no matter the price is.
For its part, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has condemned the unjustified attacks against Palestinian and international journalists by the Israeli occupation forces, on Saturday, many of whom suffocated from tear gas bombs.
A group of journalists took part in a peaceful march near Qalandia checkpoint, north of occupied Jerusalem, organized by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in front of Kalandia refugee camp, expressing solidarity with Palestinian journalists and their right to move freely through Israeli checkpoints. However, according to the PNN, occupation forces met these just demands with stun grenades and tear gas canisters, which led to the injury of a group of journalists – including guest journalists who came to participate in a conference, in the city of Ramallah – despite the fact that they were identifiable with their press vests and raising the IFJ card.
The march included dozens of local journalists, as well as a number of international journalists members of the International Federation of Journalists, in addition to members of the Arab Federation of Journalists. All were aiming to attend and take part in the international media conference in Ramallah entitled as “Journalists Under Fire”.
Israeli occupation forces repressed the journalist demonstrators, who were located around 300 meters from Qalandia checkpoint, by firing gas bombs from a launcher installed on a military vehicle, which resulted in the suffocation of dozens of journalists, with the gas, including the President of the International Federation of Journalists, Philip Lorient, Abdel Wahab Zghilat, the head of the freedoms committee at the IFJ, journalist Adriana, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Colombia, and a member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Manal Khamis, who was taken to the medical clinic for treatment. The head of the Palestinian journalists syndicate, Nasser Abu Bakr, was also hit by a gas bomb directly in the right shoulder.
MADA Center assures that international laws have guaranteed citizens the right to peaceful assembly and protest as a form of expression, but the Palestinian people in general and journalists in particular are still exposed to blatant violations of this right by Israeli forces.
Therefore, MADA is gravely concerned over the blatant assaults and reiterates that the culture of impunity enjoyed by the Israeli military and the international engagement with the occupying state as a state above the law is the main reason behind the continuation of these attacks.
MADA Center has also called on all countries to move through international organizations such as the United Nations and its Security Council, to hold Israel accountable for these crimes and attacks against journalists who expressed their views in a peaceful manner.