Journalist Madeline Al-Aqraa after she was wounded in the field in the town of Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis

MADA: 62 attacks against media freedoms in Palestine during June

PNN/ Ramallah/

the attacks against media freedoms in Palestine have continued to rise during June 2018, and have experienced a new rise. They totaled to 62 attacks, which reflect an increase of five cases as opposed to observed compromises during May.

June witnessed 33 Palestinian violations, and 29 committed by the Israeli occupation forces, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It should be noted that almost rarely the number of Palestinian violations exceeds the number Israeli violations.

The female journalists were not spared of these serious and broad assaults. The number of female journalists who were affected by these assaults during the last month totaled to 13, 8 of which were exposed to assaults by the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Five female journalists were targeted by the occupation forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, one of them was exposed to arrest, while four were injured by rubber bullets and gas bombs while they were covering events in Gaza and the West Bank.

Israeli Violations

During June, the Israeli Occupation has committed 29 assaults, most of which were classified as serious and sexual assaults against media freedoms and journalists. A number of these assaults fall under the collective and “combined assaults” which affected more than one journalist and more than one type of assaults were committed at the same moment.

Throughout this month, Israel continued its targeting of journalists with live ammunition. It is worth noting that three journalists were injured by live bullets, namely: Mohammad Abdelraziq Albaba, a photographer at Agence France-Presse AFP, who was injured with gunshot in his foot while covering the events of the peaceful return march taking place in Abu Safiya, east of Jabalya refugee camp. A photographer of the Turkish Agency “Anatolia”, Ali Hassan Musa Jadallah who was shot in the palm of his right hand while covering the peaceful Return March east of Khan Younis, and the freelance journalist, Haitham Adnan Madoukh (working for the local Sky Press Agency) who was wounded by a gunshot through his left leg, below his knee, as he was covering the events of the peaceful Return March in the east of Gaza, which caused him severe laceration in the bones. Furthermore, two other journalists were injured with gas bombs shot directly at them, while a female journalist was injured with a rubber bullet in addition to the suffocation of dozens of journalists which resulted in four cases of fainting and severe respiratory distress which required immediate treatment and hospitalization at some health centers for various periods of time.

Additionally, the Israeli army and the intelligence services of the Israeli occupation has detained a total of five journalists in June. An Israeli court has prevented the Director of Elia for Media, Mr. Ahmad Hussein Al Safadi, from attending or covering any public event in Jerusalem for one month after being arrested by the Israeli police.

The Israeli police and the Israeli occupation intelligence service went so far to the extent they raided an Iftar ceremony organized by the Chamber of Commerce for the journalists, at the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem, and dispersed the journalists who have attended the ceremony totaled to 30.

Palestinian Violations

The Palestinian violations have witnessed a remarkable rise during June, jumping from four violations in May to at least 33 during this month, 10 in Gaza Strip and 23 in the West Bank.

The largest part of these Palestinian violations, which took place during June, are classified as serious violations. On top, the widespread violations committed by Palestinian security agents in civilian clothes against journalists while covering a peaceful sit-in, downtown Ramallah, on 13 June 2018, in addition to the violations similar in their essence and form committed by persons belonging to Hamas and security agents in civilian clothes against female and male journalists while covering the sit-in which was taking place at Al-Saraya Square, downtown Gaza, on 18 June 2018. These violations included physical assaults using sticks and hands against a number of journalists, as well as seizing some tools and destroying others, deleting the materials filmed by the journalists, in addition to preventing them from media coverage. This is in addition to the widespread and collective assaults which affected those taking part in both sit-ins (Ramallah and Gaza). It should be noted that these sit-ins were taking place to protest against the failure to pay the salaries of the Authority staff in Gaza Strip.