Journalists targeted by Israeli teargas grenades call for int’l protection

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Chairman of the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate’s Cameramen Committee,  Iyad Hamad on Sunday called on international rights and press freedoms organizations to move quickly to stop the deliberate targeting by the Israeli occupation of journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories, whether in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip or occupied Jerusalem.

In an interview with PNN, Hamad said that the Israeli occupation authorities have escalated their targeting of journalists, especially field photographers, where they deliberately fire bullets, stun and teargas grenades to disrupt their careers and prevent them from reporting abuses against Journalists  and the Palestinian people in general.

Hamad, on behalf of the committee, condemned the daily crimes committed by IOF, the latest of which took place during the past two days, as journalists were clearly targeted in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and the Gaza Strip, saying that “any attempt to attack journalists will be met with protest steps.”

Majdi Bannoura, cameraman for Al-Jazeera network who was wounded while he was covering the clashes in Ramallah on Saturday, told PNN that Israeli Occupation Forces deliberately target Palestinian journalists, even though they are clearly doing their job.

“Journalists would be wearing the press vest and standing on the side with their cameras, and are still constantly targeted by Israeli forces,” Bannoura said, adding that the journalists are usually targeted with teargas grenades, as he was hit by one.

“I tried to protect my head from being hit by a teargas grenade. The grenade hit my hand, breaking one finger and cutting my hand. Now I have a cast and four stitches in my hand.  My head was also swollen because of the strength of the grenade.”

“Journalists should be able to do their jobs with ease under the protection of international organizations and without being  always subjected to danger,” Bannoura said, “in order to provide a coverage of what’s happening on the ground and protect the freedom of the press.”

According to the Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms (MADA),  during the first half of 2018, the number of Israeli violations against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including the occupied City of Jerusalem, totalled to 208.