Israel is Journalism’s No. 1 Enemy in 2021, Journalist Givara Budeiri Arrested and Deported from Jerusalem for 15 Days
Date: 06 June 2021
Time: 11:00 GMT
Yesterday, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested al-Jazeera media network journalist, Givara Ishaq Ahmed al-Budeiri (45), after physically assaulting her while she was covering a protest organized by Palestinians in solidarity with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, known as “al-Naksa.” Few hours after her arrest, Israeli authorities released al-Budeiri and handed her a 15-day deportation order from Jerusalem.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), eyewitnesses’ testimonies and al-Budeiri’s statement after her release, IOF unjustifiably assaulted al-Budeiri while she was covering incidents in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood along with her colleague, photographer Nabil al-Mezawi. IOF ordered al-Budeiri to show her press card, despite knowing her identity as she is a well-known journalist. She asked them to give her 3 minutes to bring the press card from her car, but they refused and violently assaulted her. Footages taken by Palestinian journalists who were in the area showed that at least 5 female soldiers assaulted al-Budeiri and grabbed her arm violently before detaining her near a wall. She yelled English: “Do not touch me.. Stop.. I am a journalist.” IOF also kicked and beat al-Budeiri and prevented anyone from approaching or helping her. They handcuffed her and took her to a police station. It should be noted that al-Budeiri was beaten while she was on her way to al-Bareed Investigation Center on Salah al-Deen Street in central occupied East Jerusalem. Al-Jazeera photographer, Nabil al-Mezawi, said that IOF intentionally assaulted al-Jazeera crew as they arrested al-Budeiri, IOF also assaulted him, pushed him to the ground and broke his camera and live broadcast equipment.
Al-Budeiri’s lawyer, Khaldoun Nejim, said that Israeli authorities accused Givara of assaulting a female soldier. He pointed out that the female soldier who claimed that al-Budeiri assaulted her was at the police station to file a complaint against Givara, but footages taken by al-Jazeera photographer refuted the soldier’s claims. Consequently, IOF were forced to change al-Budeiri’s charge and accused her of not obeying to soldiers’ orders and not showing her press card to them, despite that they know her on both professional and personal levels; thus, she would not need to present proof of identity according to Israeli law. Nejim added that Israeli police interrogated al-Budeiri for several hours and released her later, provided that she will banned entry to Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for 15 days.
It should be noted that IOF’s attack on Journalist Guevara al-Budeiri was not the first of its kind as just around 2 weeks ago, IOF arrested al-Kofiya TV correspondent, Zaina al-Halawani and the TV photographer, Wahbi Mekkiyeh, when they were making a report on IOF’s violations in al-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Moreover, IOF ban the entry of Journalists who hold Palestinian Press Cards into the neighborhood; restrict their presence around the neighborhood, beat and push them; pump wastewater at them and other methods that would hinder their coverage and silence their voices in the occupied City.
PCHR points out to the escalation of the attacks on journalists in 2021 that makes IOF the number one enemy of the press during this year, particularly in occupied Jerusalem and during the latest offensive on the Gaza Strip. PCHR has documented during the offensive the destruction of 23 press offices of local, regional and international organizations, including Al-Jazeera office in al-Jalaa’ tower in central Gaza City. The destroyed press offices housed 4 media companies that supply tens of press institutions with media services and materials. Moreover, 3 journalists were variously injured while covering the offensive on Gaza despite wearing the PRESS uniforms.
- PCHR emphasizes that journalists, press institutions and media outlets enjoy special protection like civilians in time of war according to the international humanitarian law and that their presence in the dangerous conflict zones does not justify targeting them. PCHR also emphasizes that targeting journalists constitute a systematic crime to silence the press and prevent it from covering IOF’s crimes against civilians in the oPt.
- PCHR stresses that these practices are part of IOF’s ongoing serious violations against the Palestinian civilians and prove Israel’s disrespect for the international humanitarian law, particularly the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions.
- PCHR calls upon all international press institutions to continue monitoring what journalists are exposed to in the oPt and exert all efforts at the international level in order to put pressure on the Israeli Government to end the attacks on journalists and press institutions.
- PCHR calls upon the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression to act immediately to stop IOF’s attacks on the Palestinian journalists and press institutions.