The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has condemned the recent wave of violations against a number of Palestinian journalists. Some of these violations were committed by Israeli occupation forces, while the other violations – especially the abduction of several journalists – were carried out by Palestinian security services, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces detained five Palestinian journalists on Sunday (26/10/2019), while they were covering a peaceful protest against settlements and Israeli attacks in the area of “Al-Himma” in the northern Jordan Valley, east of Tubas. Later, the journalists were transferred to the settlement of “Ariel”, which is located in the lands of Salfit. The journalists were interrogated individually, on the pretext of “being in a closed military zone, participating in an illegal activity and obstructing the work of Israeli soldiers.” Moreover, the Israeli interrogators took the journalists’ fingerprints and photographs, and, after about 15 hours of detention, they were released. However, the equipment belonging to the journalists was not returned to them. Those detained included Hazem Nasser, a cameraman for Al-Ghad TV, Khaled Bedair, correspondent of Al-Ghad TV, freelance journalist Mahmoud Fawzi, Palestine TV reporter Amir Shaheen, and cameraman Zaher Abu Hussein from the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission.

Before this, two Palestinian journalists were injured by Israeli rubber-coated metal bullets while they were covering two separate events in Ramallah and Nablus. Also, three Palestinian journalists were assaulted by Israeli soldiers while covering a march against settlements in the town of Turmus ‘Ayya, near Ramallah.

In parallel, Palestinian security services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have recently detained and are still holding four journalists.The security services of Hamas in the Gaza Strip arrested Hani al-Agha, a reporter for Sawt al-Shabab, radio station broadcasting from the city of Dhahriain, southern West Bank. Al-Agha was arrested a month ago (on 26/9/2019), and he is still under arrest at this moment. In addition, Hamas’s internal security service in the Gaza Strip arrested journalist Bassam Mohammed DiabMuheisen (39 years old), who works for the “Palestinian Voice” – the Palestine Public Broadcasting Corporation. The Internal Security Agency in Gaza also summoned the correspondent for the Independent Arab newspaper, Ezzedin Abu Eisha, four times in a row, detained him for several hours, each time, and questioned him about a report he published entitled “How Hamas Communicates with Its Leaders in The Occupied West Bank.”

In the West Bank, Preventive Security service continues to arrest journalist Mahmoud Nathmi Abu Hassan, who contributes to the Facebook pages of “Palestine Post” and “Shahid Post” since 14/10/2019. Moreover, the Preventive Security arrested, on Monday (21/10/2019), “Palestine Post” correspondent Radwan Abdelqader Qatanani, from the library where he works, in Askar refugee camp, east of Nablus.

MADA has renewed the call to put pressure upon the Israeli authorities, to stop their attacks against journalists and media freedoms in Palestine, and to hold accountable the perpetrators of these violations, in order to end the impunity that fuels their continuation and escalation. Additionally, MADA Center calls upon the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to release the four detained journalists and end violations against media freedoms.

Photo journalist Mustafa Al-Kharouf is Free

MADA thanks the local institutions that cooperated with us to shed light on the case of photo journalist Mustafa Al-Kharouf, to international and UN institutions, especially the UN special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Mr. David Kaye, to the representations and consulates that responded to our campaign and calls, and raised the issue with the occupation authorities. Alkharouf was released last Thursday after 9 months in prison, and failed attempt to deport him. More details about his case: