Two weeks after the issuance of an Israeli decision to close the Palestine TV headquarters in Jerusalem, and in another dangerous escalatory step, the Israeli occupation forces arrested four members of the Palestine TV crew in Jerusalem; two correspondents, Dana Ghazi (Muhammad Saeed) Abu Shamsieh, Christine Khaled Walid Rinawi, in addition to the photographers, Ali Sami Moussa Yassin and Amir Muhammad Khalil Abed Rabbo. The Israeli forces arrested the crew at nine in the morning, on Friday (06/12/2019) during the broadcast of the weekly episode of “Good Morning, Jerusalem.”
The show of “Good Morning, Jerusalem” began broadcasting at nine in the morning, as usual, from another location in the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, with the presence of the program’s presenter Dana Ghazi Abu Shamsieh, and the photographer Amir Muhammad Khalil Abed Rabbo, and the first 20-minute interview went without interference.The next part of the show went to the interview with the reporter Christine Khaled Renawi and the photographer Ali Sami Yassin, in front of Bab Al-Amoud. At around 09:25 a.m, two white GMC cars and an Israeli forces vehicle stormed the area. The Israeli forces approached the photographer Abed-Rabbo and demanded for the camera battery to stop the broadcast, and Abd-Rabbowas arrested along with the journalist Abu Shamsieh.
It should be mentioned that this was done during the live broadcast of the show from the Bab Al-Amoud. The reporter Christine Rinawi ended her broadcast by saying: “The crew of ‘Good Morning, Jerusalem’ show was arrested, and it seems that we will also be arrested now. The Israeli occupation intelligence is currently standing next to us; they are waiting for the live broadcast to end so that the arrest process does not appear live on television.” The four journalists were arrested and all their equipment(cameras, live broadcasting equipment)and their private cellphones were confiscated. Also, the Israeli forces arrested the guest of the show, Mohammed Samih Al-Abbasi, who had been released recently.
The crew was released between 02:00 and 02:15 p.m.; the photographers Amir AbedRabbo and Ali Yassin were first released, and they were followed by two journalists, Dana Abu Shamsieh and Kristen Renawi, after half an hour. The conditions of the release included not to work with Palestine TV permanently, not to work inside Jerusalem or inside the occupied territories in 1948, in addition to not communicating with the crew for 15 days, and paying a bail of 2000NIS if the decision is broken or any of the four journalists communicated with the crew. However, the equipment remained in the possession of the occupation forces
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli occupation forces did not object to the work of the crew during the first week after the closure decision. During the second week, when the crew went to the “Mormon” area in the Mount of Olives, the Israeli occupation forces were waiting for them, and they confiscated the ID of the guest,the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Fadi Al-Hadmi, which forced the crew to change the location of broadcasting.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns this escalatory step by the Israeli occupation forces, which is aimingto silence the press and prevent it from exposing the Israeli occupation crimes that are increasing day by day, through a series of repression moves carried out against Palestinian journalists and media outlets. MADA Center calls upon all human rights organizations and the international community to pressure Israel to stop its pursuit against Palestinian journalists and the systematic violations against them, in addition to hold the perpetrators of these violations accountable.