Israeli occupation forces continue to target Palestinian journalists in the West Bank, especially with the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip that assaults and violations continued against civilians including journalists since the great return marches for more than 120 days, MADA center for media freedoms said in a statement on Tuesday.
“As part of its systematic policy to target Palestinian journalists across the West Bank East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, the Israeli occupation forces arrested four journalists working at Al-Quds channel,” MADA said.
The arrests came after the occupation forces on July 9 issued a decision to prohibit the work of Al Quds Channel across the occupied Palestinian territory on the grounds that they are politically related to Hamas and incite terrorism. This prohibition comes in order to conceal the truth and to pursue all voices supporting the Palestinian cause and the right to access information. This prohibition also reached service provider company Al-Bashir ProMedia Productions to stop all forms of dealing and working with the channel and to provide its media services under any circumstances.
According to the information provided to us by the field researcher at MADA, journalists were arrested handcuffed and blindfolded after confiscating their press equipment.
As reported by Um Omar, Qutaiba’s mother, the Israeli occupation forces arrested Qutaiba Mohammed Hamdan, 25, a photographer with Al-Quds TV after storming his house at 02:30 am from Beitunia area west of Ramallah. They searched the house, tampered with its contents, confiscated 3 computers, 4 different camerasand photograph equipment, as well as four mobile phones, a protective jacket and a helmet. Qutaiba was taken to Ofer prison, handcuffed and blindfolded.
In the same way, Alaa Hassan al-Rimawi, the director of Al-Quds TV channel, 40 years, his house was stormed from Al-Irsal Street at3am. After searching the house, a Hyundai Santivi car, a computer, protective jacket, a helmet and other equipment were confiscated, and then they arrested Alaa according to his wife.
At the same time, the video cameraman Hosni Hassan Anjas, 32 years, was arrested from his house in the village of Kharbata Bani Harith, his brother Raafat said. After searching the house thoroughly, they confiscated his car- Fiat 2008, two other computers Shooting equipment, press cards, and his archive. He was taken to the Kiryat Sefer settlement near the village.
“Mohammed Sami” Arif Alwan (34 years) was also arrested at 3 am from his home in the area of Sattah Marhaba in the city of Al-Bireh. His computer, camera, storage devices and his cell phone were confiscated after the Israeli occupation forces searched his house for half an hour he was then taken to Pessgot settlement as reported by his sister Faten Alwan.
The arrest of Al-Quds TV crew arrest was another series of attacks and deliberate target by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian media to ensure the complete silence of the media, in light of the fierce attack on the Gaza Strip in particular.
Moreover, Israeli occupation Forces arrested female journalist Lama Khater (42 years) On Tuesday night 24/07 was arrested at 1:30 am after breaking into her home in the Luza area of Hebron. She is still in detention; on 26/07 they decided to extend her detention for another eight days on the pretext of continuing her investigation. This is not the first time that Khater has been arrested.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns the attack against Al-Quds TV channel and denounces the target of its media crew; MADA demands the urgent release of all detained journalists. MADA also calls on the international community to intervene and pressure the Israeli government to stop its policy of arresting journalists and to compel Israel to abide by its legal obligations as an occupying power under the international law, and ensure the protection of Palestinians right to freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by international conventions. It also demands Israel to respect the right of Palestinian journalists and to deal with them within this framework.