Print

Silencing the Press

 A Report on Israeli Attacks against Journalists

November 20, 2000 – February 20, 2001

  

 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists – Geneva

Affiliate of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Affiliate of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network 

 

 

 

 “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

(Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948)

 

 “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

(Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966)

  

“Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians … They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians…”

Article 79 – Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol 1)

 

 

Introduction:

 This reports documents Israeli abuses against journalists of local and international press agencies during the period of November 21, 2000 – February 21, 2001.  This is the second report in a continuing series on Israeli attacks on the local and international press.  The first report covered Israeli abuses against journalists during the period of September 29 – November 20, 2000.  In the first report, PCHR documented 49 attacks on local and international journalists, including firing upon journalists, beating and humiliating journalists, preventing journalists from entering particular areas, destroying media equipment and shelling media centers and institutions. 

 During the period covered in the previous report, September 29- November 20, 2000, Israeli forces fired live and rubber-coated metal bullets at 22 journalists, wounding them all.  In addition, an additional five were fired upon without being wounded.  Furthermore, Israeli forces beat 12 journalists and arrested one.  Israeli forces also prevented journalists from entering particular areas of Occupied Palestinian Territories.  Israeli forces damaged journalists’ equipment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in five separate incidents and shelled three Palestinian media centers and institutions.

 During the period covered by the current report, November 21, 2000 – February 20, 2001, Israeli forces continued the practice of silencing the press through preventing members of the media from carrying out their duties.  Israeli forces opened fire on journalists, damaging their equipment, despite the fact that they wore clearly marked attire that identified them as media personnel.  Israeli also forces denied journalists entry into particular areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, preventing them from covering certain incidents.  Additionally, the forces shelled a number of Palestinian media outlets and institutions. 

 This period saw four incidents in which Israeli forces opened fire on journalists, wounding them.  Seven journalists and human rights workers were beaten and humiliated by the Israeli forces.  In addition, Israeli forces arrested and interrogated three journalists as a result of their work.  They also prevented the entry of Palestinian newspapers from the West Bank into the Gaza Strip.  Moreover, the Israeli forces destroyed four journalists’ equipment and shelled two media buildings.  Therefore the total number of Israeli attacks on journalists during the period covered in this report is 23, bringing to 72 the total number of attacks since outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada, on September 29, 2000. 

These attacks by Israeli forces violate all relevant covenants and conventions, especially Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.  This asserts the right to freedom of opinion and the right to receive an impart information through any media regardless of frontiers.  The forces are also in blatant violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, which states in its Article 19 that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, or print, or through any other media of his choice.”  Article 79 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (Protocol 1) offers guarantees when it states that “journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians,” and provides that “they shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians.”

 PCHR condemns Israeli forces’ practices against local and international journalists and reporters.  According to evidence and documentation gathered by PCHR, these attacks by on journalists were willful and intentional.  The attacks are part of a public relations conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinians with the later wishing to show the international community the reality of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  Israeli attacks as part of the public relations conflict escalated following increased international criticism of Israeli forces’ practices, which has even started to penetrate Israel itself. 

 For the first time since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, a chorus of Israeli voices has emerged, calling an end to these practices because of their negative affect on Israel’s international image.  Shlomo Ben Ami, the Israeli Foreign Minister and a prominent leader of the Israeli Labor Party, has commented that Israeli practices against Palestinian civilians, especially the assassination of some Palestinians whom Israel considers a threat to security, remind him of the autocratic political systems in Europe in the Middle Ages.

 Despite increased pressure from international and local sources, Israeli forces have continued to close the Occupied Palestinian Territories off from the rest of the world, in order to hide their war crimes Palestinian civilians.  Israeli forces do not hesitate to fire upon or otherwise attack local and international journalists.  This has transpired even while the press was covering visits by several international commissions and envoys, including those of the United Nations, which were investigating Israeli abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 

 The following is a list of attacks by the Israeli occupation forces on journalists and reporters of local and international press agencies during the period of November 21, 2000 – February 20, 2001:

 

       q          December 6, 2000

 Israeli forces attacked a number of Palestinian journalists who were accompanying the UN Special Coordinator for the Occupied Territories, Terje Rod-Larsen, during his visit to the area in Hebron under the Israeli control.  PCHR learnt that these forces violently beat and arrested Nasser El-Shioukhi, an Associated Press (AP) correspondent.  He was detained in an Israeli police station near Keriat Arba settlement in Hebron.

 

 

       q          December 8, 2000

 For the second time, Israeli forces violently beat journalist Nasser El-Shioukhi, destroying his camera.  At the time, he was covering an Israeli forces attempt to occupy a Palestinian house in Hebron.  They also expelled BBC personnel, who covered the same event.

 

       q          December 11, 2000

Israeli occupation forces attacked two field officers of the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW).  This incident took place near an Israeli military roadblock on the Nablus-Ramallah road where the two field officers were filming a Palestinian civilian car that had been stoned by settlers from Ofra settlement near Ramallah.  PCHR learnt that the two field officers, ‘Aamer El-‘Aarouri and Thoraya Alia, were injured and their videotapes confiscated by the Israeli forces.

 

       q          December 15, 2000

 Israeli soldiers attacked PCHR’s field officer Abdel-Halim Abu Samra.  This incident took place when Abu Samra was filming near Tal Al-Sultan roadblock, which separates Rafah from its Al-Mawasi (agricultural) area that is under Israeli control.  Abu Samra was threatened at gunpoint and his camera taken.  Israeli soldiers also damaged the videotapes and forced Abu Samra to leave the area.

 

       q          January 3, 2001

 Israeli forces prevented the entry of Palestinian newspapers published in the West Bank (including Jerusalem) into the Gaza Strip.  The major Palestinian newspapers, Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, are issued in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

 

       q          January 28, 2001

 Israeli soldiers positioned at a roadblock on Ein Qenia road, west of Ramallah, brutally beat Dhuha El-Shami, a Ramallah based al-Watan television channel camerawoman and confiscated her camera.  Furthermore, they detained Ashraf Kutkut, a cameraman, for half an hour and instructed him to go to the Israeli intelligence department in Hebron, his place of residence.  The two were covering Israeli treatment of Palestinian civilians at the roadblock.

 

       q          February 12, 2001

 James Longley, a freelance US journalist, and his producer Mohammed Mahanna, were fired at by the Israeli occupation forces from heavy machine guns near Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet, to the east of Gaza City.  This incident took place when the two were attempting to film a group of Palestinian children playing near an Israeli tank.  Bernard asserted to PCHR that they were fired upon when they were approximately 40 feet from the Israeli tank.  He also asserted that they were willfully fired upon. They were not engaging in suspicious or threatening activity.  It was also clear from their attire and camera that they were journalists.  He added that the area was very quiet and no clashes were occurring between Palestinian civilians and the Israeli forces.

 

       q          February 13, 2001

 Israeli forces fired heavy and medium caliber bullets at Palestinian houses in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, wounding five Palestinian civilians, including three journalists, who were covering the incident.  The journalists were:

       1)         Ahmed Jadallah Hassan Jadallah, a 30-year-old Reuters photographer from Gaza, wounded with shrapnel in the head;

       2)         Shams El-Din Oudetallah, a 31-year-old Reuters photographer from Khan Yunis, wounded with shrapnel in the right foot; and

       3)         Abed Rabbo Abdel-Rahman Oudetallah, wounded with shrapnel in the head.

 

The shelling coincided with the presence of the UN Human Rights Inquiry Commission, established by the UN to investigate Israeli abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  The Commission was forced to abruptly end their field visit to Khan Yunis, where they had been viewing the damage caused by Israeli shelling.

 PCHR considers these practices against journalists part of ongoing Israeli abuses against Palestinian civilians.  PCHR also considers it evidence of Israeli disregard for international humanitarian, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.  PCHR asserts the following:

        1.         Most attacks by the Israeli forces against the local and international press agencies were willful and intentional, especially since members of the press wear clearly marked attire.  The attacks are designed to prevent the objective coverage of incidents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

       2.         Israeli forces have equally targeted the local and international press, since many international journalists were attacked.  These attacks are part of a systematic Israeli policy of isolating the Occupied Palestinian Territories, so as to allow further abuses Palestinian civilians.

       3.         PCHR calls on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to meet their obligations under the Convention and immediately provide international protection for the Palestinian people.

       4.         PCHR calls on all international media to intervene and exert pressure on Israel to stop its occupying forces’ attacks on journalists and to provide the proper climate for practice of the profession without restriction.  

 

The following table shows attacks by the Israeli forces on local and international journalists during

the period of September 28, 2000 – February 20, 2001:

 

Kind of Attack

Date

Journalist

Press Agency

Place of the Wound

Means of the Attack

Shooting that caused injury

Sept. 29, 2000

  1. Mahfouzh Abu Turk

     

  2. Hazem Bader
  3. Aamer El-Jabari
  4. Nasser El-Shioukhi
  5. Naji Dana

A cameraman of France 2 and a reporter of Reuters

A photographer of AP

A reporter of NBC

An independent journalist

A cameraman of France 2

The left side

 

The right hand

The head

The side

The body

A rubber-coated metal bullet

 

A rubber-coated metal bullet

A live bullet

A rubber-coated metal bullet

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Sept. 30, 2000

Mouaffaq Turki Qassem Mattar

A photographer of Falasteen Al-Yawm (Palestine Today) Press in Ramallah

The head

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Oct. 2, 2000

  1. Hazem Bader
  2. Mazen Dana

A photographer of AP

A photographer of Reuters

The right hand

The right leg

A live bullet

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Oct. 16, 2000

Luce Delahye

A photographer of Newsweek

The forehead

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Oct. 17, 2000

Mahfouzh Abu Turk

A cameraman of France 2 and a reporter of Reuters

The hand

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Oct. 18, 2000

Patrick Baz

A photographer of France Press

The hand

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Oct. 20, 2000

Abdel-Rahman El-Khatib

A photographer of Al-Ayyam daily local newspaper

The mouth

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Oct. 21, 2000

  1. Jacques- Marie Bourget
  2. Ibrahim El-Hosari
  3. Jamal Aarori

A reporter of Paris Match

 

Watan Television Channel

A photographer of Al-Ayyam daily local newspaper

The left lung

 

The ear

The hand

A live bullet

 

Not specified

A rubber-coated metal bullet

 

Oct. 27, 2000

Thoraya Oleyan

A field officer of the Palestinian Society for the protection of Human Rights and the Environment (Law) – Ramallah

The thigh

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Oct. 31, 2000

Ben Wedeman

A correspondent of CNN

The right side

A live bullet

Nov. 9, 2000

  1. Robers Laurant
  2. Rio Kahi Yama

A correspondent of AP

Japanese press agencies

The thigh

The left eye

A live bullet

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Nov. 11, 2000

Jaula Monakov

A correspondent of AP

The pelvis and the bladder

Two live bullets

Nov. 16, 2000

Mohammed Zeid El-Keilani

A cameraman of the Arab News Network (ANN)

The shoulder

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Nov. 19, 2000

Mouaffaq Turki Qassem Mattar

A photographer of Falasteen Al-Yawm (Palestine Today) Press in Ramallah

The head

A rubber-coated metal bullet

Feb. 9, 2001

Laurent Van Der Stock

A photographer of Gama

The left leg

A live bullet

Feb. 13, 2001

  1. Ahmed Jadallah Hassan Jadallah
  2. Shams El-Din Oudetallah
  3. Abed Rabbo Abdel-Rahamn Oudeh

A cameraman of Reuters

 

A cameraman of Reuters

 

A cameraman of Palestine Television

The head

 

The right foot

 

The head

Shrapnel

 

Shrapnel

 

Shrapnel

Total

 

26

     

Shooting that caused no injuries

Oct. 21, 2000

Bruno Stephen

An independent photographer of the French Liberation and German Stern

Live ammunition

 

Oct. 29, 2000

  1. Aadel Abu Naeima

     

     

  2. Fathi Barahma

     

     

  3. Emad Abu Sonbol

A correspondent of Al-Ayyam daily local newspaper

A correspondent of Sawt Falasteen (Voice of Palestine)

A correspondent of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida

 

 

 

 

Live ammunition

 

 

Live ammunition

 

 

Live ammunition

 

Oct. 31, 2000

Shams Oudetallah

A cameraman of Reuters

Live ammunition

 

Feb. 12, 20001

  1. James Longley
  2. Mohammed Mahanna

A freelance journalist

A photography producer

Live ammunition

Total

 

7

     

Beating and humiliation

Sept. 29, 2000

  1. Khaled Abu Akar

     

  2. Khaled Zaghri

     

  3. Awadh Mouawadh

     

  4. Rami Noufal

     

     

  5. Luai Abu Haikal

     

  6. Wafiq Mattar

A correspondent of France 2 and The New York Times

A photographer ofReuters

 

A cameraman of France Press

A journalist at the Palestinian broadcasting station

A journalist of Reuters

 

A journalist of the Palestinian Political Steering Bureau

The shoulder

 

Several parts of the body

Several parts of the body

Several parts of the body

 

Several parts of the body

Several parts of the body

 

Cudgels

 

Cudgels

 

Cudgels

 

Cudgels

 

 

Cudgels

 

cudgels

Sept. 30, 2000

Fahmi Shahin

A field officer of the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (Law) – Ramallah

Several parts of the body

 

Cudgels, hands and feet

Oct. 4, 2000

Atta Ooweisat

A cameraman of Zoom 77

The stomach and the neck

Cudgels, hands and feet

Oct. ?, 2000

Aadel Khneifes

A correspondent of Al-Ain of Nazareth

Several parts of the body

Cudgels, hands and feet

Oct. 20, 2000

Hamed Egahbareya

Director of Sawt Al-Haq Walhorreya (the Voice of Right and Freedom)

Several parts of the body

Cudgels, hands and feet

Oct. 24, 2000

Abdel-Rahamn Khbeisa

A photographer of AP

His car

A huge rock that could easily have killed him

Nov. 11, 2000

Samir Khalifa

A correspondent of Palestine Television

The respiratory system

A tear gas canister

Dec. 6, 2000

Nasser El-Shioukhi

A correspondent of AP

Several parts of the body

Cudgels, hands and feet

Dec. 8, 2000

Nasser El-Shioukhi

A correspondent of AP

Several parts of the body

Cudgels, hands and feet

Dec. 11, 2000

  1. Aamer El-Aarouri

     

     

     

  2. Thoraya Oleyan

A field officer of the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (Law)

The same

The hand

 

 

 

Several parts of the body

Cudgels, hands and feet

 

 

 

Cudgels, hands and feet

 

Dec. 15, 2000

Abdel-Halim Abu Samra

A field officer of PCHR

He was threatened with guns and was forced to leave the area where he was

 

Jan. 4, 2001

Thawri Abu Jeish

A field officer of the Palestinian Society for the protection of Human Rights and the environment (LAW) – Ramallah

Several parts of the body

Cudgels, hands and feet

 

Jan. 28, 2001

Dhuha Shameya

A camera woman of Watan Television Channel

Several parts of the body

Cudgels, hands and feet

Total

 

19

     

Detention, interrogation and prevention of the entry of journalists and newspapers into the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Oct. 23, 2000

Nasser El-Shioukhi

A correspondent of AP

   

Dec. 6, 2000

Nasser El-Shioukhi

A correspondent of AP

   

Jan. 3, 2001

The Israeli occupation forces prevented the entry of local newspapers, Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, into the Gaza Strip

     

Jan. 4, 2001

Tahawri Abu Jeish

A field officer of the Palestinian Society for the protection of Human Rights and the environment (LAW) – Ramallah

   

Jan. 8, 2001

Ashraf Kutkut

A cameraman of Watan Television Channel

   

Total

 

5

     

Attacks and confiscation of equipment

Sept. 29, 2000

An attempt to destroy cameras and other equipment of journalist Awadh Awadh

A cameraman of France Press

No damages

Cudgels

Oct. 2, 2000

The car and press equipment of journalist Marwan El-Ghoul

A cameraman of CBC

The car and press equipment were completely destroyed

Shelling

Oct. 9, 2000

The camera of journalist Luce Delahye

A photographer of Newsweek

The camera was damaged

Rubber-coated metal bullets

Oct. 14, 2000

The car of journalists Hassan El-Tieti and Abdel-Rahaman Qusieni

AP

The forefront and glass of the car were destroyed

Stones

Nov. 11, 2000

The car of journalist Marwan El-Ghoul

A cameraman of CBC

Severe damage to the car

Live ammunition

Dec. 8, 2000

The camera of journalist Nasser El-Shioukhi

A correspondent of AP

The camera was destroyed

Cudgels

Dec. 11, 2000

Videotapes of field officers Aamer El-Aarouri and Thoraya Oleyan

The Palestinian Society for the protection of Human Rights and the environment (LAW) – Ramallah

The videotapes were destroyed

 

Dec. 15, 2000

The camera and videotapes of field officer Abdel-Halim Abu Samra

PCHR

The camera was confiscated and the videotapes were destroyed

 

Jan. 28, 2001

The camera of journalist Dhuha Shameya

A camerawoman of Watan Television Channel

The camera was confiscated

 

Total

 

9

     

Attacks on media centers and institutions

Oct. 12, 2000

The broadcasting stations of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation

 

Severe damage

Shelling

Oct. ?, 2000

Al-Salam Television Channel in Tulkarm

 

Severe damage

Shelling

Nov. 4, 2000

The building of the Second Palestinian Broadcasting Station in Al-Mentar area in Gaza

 

Severe damage

 

Nov. ?, 2000

Al-Fajr Al-Jadid Television Channel in Tulkarm

 

Severe damage

 

Feb. 8, 2001

The headquarters of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida

 

Severe damage

Shelling

Total

 

5

     

Total attack on all levels

 

72