According to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), continued attacks against journalists are a result of the impunity of the perpetrators of these crimes.
This statement was originally published on madacenter.org on 17 November 2019.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns the escalation by the Israeli occupation forces and the attacks on journalists and media freedom in Palestine. The most dangerous and cruel Israeli attack led to the loss of photojournalist Moath Amarneh’s left eye due to a shrapnel from a bullet that was fired by an Israeli sniper on Friday. This incident was followed by the widespread and violent suppression of a peaceful sit-in organized by Palestinian journalists in Bethlehem on Sunday (17/11/2019) in solidarity with their colleague Amarneh.
According to MADA, a group of journalists (including Moath Amarneh, a cameraman for GMedia, for Media Production and for Sanad, a Palestinian agency based in Britain) arrived at around 11:00 pm on Friday (15/11/2019) to an area weest of Surif (northwest of the Hebron Governorate) to cover a peaceful protest organized by the residents against a new Israeli settlement that plans to confiscate hundreds of acres in favor of the Apartheid Wall. During the presence of the residents, several patrols of the Israeli Border Police arrived and the soldiers started to remove the residents from the area at gunpoint – this lasted until 12:45 pm. At the time, around 10 youths gathered and began throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers, and the journalists moved tens of meters away. About half an hour later (about 1:15 pm), an Israeli sniper fired a bullet [likely a type of exploding bullet] from the place where the soldier was stationed about 80 meters away.
At the same time, a young man was injured, and another person started screaming. That person was identified later as the journalist Moath Amarneh and his eye was bleeding. Amarneh was evacuated to the Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, and two hours later he was transferred to the Arab Society in Bethlehem and remained there until the evening, where he was suffering from severe bleeding. At 03:00 am on Saturday, he was transferred to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital where he underwent his first surgery to remove the shrapnel. It turned out that the shrapnel was very close to the brain, and the doctors are expected to decide on Sunday whether to perform the surgery because of the possibility of bleeding.
Not only did the Israeli occupation forces injure Amarneh, who lost his eye, but did not also hesitate on Sunday (17/11/2019) to suppress violently a peaceful sit-in organized by journalists in Bethlehem in solidarity with their colleague Amarneh. The journalists’ sit-in was flooded with suffocating gas bombs and the Israeli soldiers assaulted several of the journalists, which led to injuring at least 10 of them: Munjed Gado, PNN Network Director, was hit by a gas bomb on his head. A number of journalists – Thaer Fakhoury, Raed Al-Sharif, correspondent for Al-Ghad Al-Arabi, Nidal Salhab, a photographer for Al-Ghad Al-Arabi, and Abdul Mohsen Shalaldeh – were hit by tear gas bombs directly on their legs. Moreover, Mohammed al-Lahham from Ma’an Network and the head of the Freedoms Committee of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, was convulsed by suffocating gas, while Sari Jaradat and Ali Al Abed suffered severe suffocation and required hospitalization. Also, the Israeli soldiers confiscated the camera of journalist Safia Qawar from Radio Baladna. In addition they violently arrested journalists Ahmad Tanouh from Ma’an Agency and Hamad Taqatqa, and took them to an Israeli military post nearby (they were released at around noon).
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) hopes for the speedy recovery of colleague Moath Amarneh and all his colleagues who have been repressed by the Israeli occupation. MADA also renews its demand to prosecute the perpetrators of all these attacks, especially the Israeli sniper who fired at Amarneh and all those responsible for this, and put them on trial. Additionally, MADA asserts that the shooting of the colleague Amarneh and the continuation and escalation of attacks against journalists and media freedoms in Palestine are the result of the impunity of the perpetrators of these crimes.
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