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December 2018 saw 43 attacks on media freedoms in Palestine: Report

A protester is affected by gas bombs fired by the Israeli forces during a protest of the 'Great March of Return', in Rafah, Gaza, 21 December 2018
A protester is affected by gas bombs fired by the Israeli forces during a protest of the 'Great March of Return', in Rafah, Gaza, 21 December 2018

Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This is an edited excerpt of a report originally published on madacenter.org on 8 January 2019.

MADA, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, has monitored a total of 43 attacks in December 2018, most of which were committed by the Israeli occupation (32 attacks), with the remaining 11 committed by Palestinians. It should be noted that the previous month witnessed 57 attacks committed by the Israeli occupation.

The Israeli Attacks:
The Israeli occupation forces have committed a total of 32 attacks, most of which involve serious attacks against the lives of journalists and media freedoms, including numerous attacks involving groups of journalists and complex attacks, which include several different attacks integrated altogether.

Among the most prominent and serious Israeli attacks registered during the last month of 2018 is the injury of at least 9 journalists by gas bombs as well as rubber and metal bullets which the occupation soldiers continue to directly and deliberately fire against the bodies of journalists. One example of this is the journalist Attiya Mohammed Ali Darwish. While covering the events of the peaceful return march on 14 December 2018, he was injured with a gas bomb that hit him in the face, penetrating his skull by 7 cm and causing bleeding and damage to the jaw and left eye.

In addition, four other journalists were injured by gas bombs fired directly at them, namely: photojournalist Mohammad Wael Abduljawad Al-Duwaik, injured by a gas bomb in the forehead; photographer Majdi George Banoura, injured by a gas bomb in the left hand and the left side of his head causing a fracture to one of his fingers; Hasan Abdulfattah Mohammad Islaih, injured by a gas bomb in the foot; Thaer Khalid Fahmi Abu Rayash, injured by a gas bomb in the abdomen; freelance photojournalist Ribhi Abed Al-Koubary, injured by a rubber bullet in his left hand; Musab Abdelsamad Shawer Al-Tamimi, injured by a rubber bullet in his left hand; Mustafa Mohammad Al-Badri Hassouna, injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the leg; and Sami Jamal Taleb Masran, injured by explosive bullet fragments in the foot.

Among the most prominent Israeli attacks monitored during the past month, in addition to the nine injuries previously mentioned, was the breaking into the main headquarters of the Official Palestinian News Agency "WAFA" and the detention of staff members inside the headquarters. They also threw a gas bomb at the balcony of Al-Tahrir Hall, even though 14 staff members were inside the headquarters at the time. This is in addition to breaking into the Al-Noor printing shop in Ramallah and bombing its doors at night as well as confiscating its equipment and printing machinery. The owner of the shop, Khaled Hussein Musfir, estimated the total price of the confiscated equipment and machines at 32,000 shekels (approximately USD 8,673). Israeli occupation forces also detained four journalists that month, namely: Sameh Mahmoud Mohammad Abdullah, who was arrested from his home in the village of Izbat Al-Jarad in Tulkarm; journalist Hussain Hashim Shuja'ia, who was arrested from his home in the village of Deir Jreir; Samer Abu Eisheh from Jerusalem, released the day after his arrest and transferred to house arrest for a week; and Mousa Sarhan, who was arrested from his house located in Alluban Al-Gharbiya.

The Palestinian Attacks:
The Palestinian attacks registered during December show a slight rise amounting to eleven attacks compared to eight monitored during the preceding month.

The Palestinian attacks against media freedoms during December included seeing Palestinian security forces beating journalists Abd Al-Muhsin Shalaldeh and Malik Al-Ja'bari while they were covering a march in Hebron, in addition to detaining Al-Ja'bari for about two hours. This is in addition to detaining the photographer Abdelkareem Mseitef in the headquarters of the Palestinian Intelligence for four hours and a half, for covering a march in Ramallah.

Furthermore, the head of Tulkarem Governor Office informed the freelance journalist Sami Saed Al-Saee that he is prohibited from transmitting any news in connection with the governor or the Tulkarem Governorate; Palestinian Preventive Security in Nablus arrested journalist Mutasem Saqf Al-Heit; Palestinian Intelligence Services in Halhoul summoned journalist Abdelmuhsen Shalaldeh and questioned him; they also seized the money being transferred to the staff of the Jordanian office of Al-Haqiqa TV in Bethlehem; journalist Nidal Ishtaya was injured by a stone while covering a demonstration in Kafq Qaddum; and Internal Security in Gaza summoned the programs officer of Palestine TV Sameer Skaik twice, questioning and detaining him for long hours;

Read the full report on MADA's site.

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