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MADA: The occupation attacks on journalists are unrelenting



Ramallah, 19th November 2012: The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored fresh attacks on journalists and media outlets on 18th and 19th November 2012. These violations occur as part of the continued targeting of journalists and media outlets in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip


Palmedia cameraman, Samer Hamad informed MADA that the occupation forces prevented his reporting of clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces in the Dar Salah region near the city of Bethlehem this morning. Hamad added: "They prevented me and my colleagues, the photographers Mousa Al-Shaaer and Luay Sababa, from coverage. The soldiers were pushing us and they put their hands on the cameras whenever we tried filming. They took my car keys until I stop coverage, but they returned them later. We told them that we are journalists, but they did not care and continued to prevent us from coverage and pushing us".


In another incident, a female Israeli soldier attempted to assault Muna Hasan, a correspondent of Raya FM radio this morning as she reported on clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the area of Jabal Almokaber in Jerusalem. According to Muna, the Israeli soldier prevented her from covering the events, pushed her several times and raised her hand to physically assault her, before she managed to escape. Muna added: "She screamed at me several times and she said to me “Get out of here”, but I did not care her".

On Sunday 18th November 2012, French Agency photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk and fellow agency colleague Ahmed Grabula attempted to cover the clashes at Qalandia checkpoint. Abu Turk stated: "When we started filming a group of soldiers approached us, so we showed them our press cards so they left us. But one of the officers pushed me several times during the covering, so i went away from the soldiers." He added: "During imaging I noticed that two soldiers are talking , laughing and looking at me, I felt that they were planning to target me, so I tried to withdraw from the region, but a sniper fired at me bullet with iron coated with rubber hitting my neck. Fortunately I was wearing a leather jacket and the belt of the camera saved my neck, I received treatment in the field". Abu Turk concluded: "I've been a photographer for 30 years, for the second time I feel that I'm targeted for killings by the Israeli occupation forces only for covering events”.


On Sunday 18th November 2012, Israeli occupation forces also attacked Palestine TV correspondent Ali Dar Ali while reporting on clashes near the Israeli Ofer camp. Ali informed MADA that as he covered the clashes, rubber bullets were being fired indiscriminately at young Palestinians; one of the bullets hit his waist, causing redness and swelling. Ali added: "We have been deliberately being targeted where the press signs were obvious, and I was holding the microphone and the cameraman was holding a camera. There is no doubt that we are journalists".


Since the commencement of the aggression on Gaza six days ago, the occupation forces have started to interfere with radio and local television stations and penetrate their frequencies. Rabah Marzouk, Executive Director of Quds Radio in Gaza informed MADA that since the second day of the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, the occupation army has seized the radio station's airwaves and broadcast information to the people in Gaza "warning them not to cooperate with the Palestinian resistance". This message was repeated on several occasions in addition to interfering with the station’s operations. Interfering throughjamming’ is not considered as important an issue as physically seizing a station’s airwaves and broadcasting messages from the occupation army. The frequencies of other stations have also been seized, including Radio Al-Aqsa, and an Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed such actions in a statement to the AFP agency: "We controlled Hamas television and broadcasted warnings”.


Ahmed Kherti, director of audio engineering at Sawt Alshaab radio station informed MADA of the Israeli army’s interferrance with the station’s airwaves and control of its frequencies. Warning messages for the people of Gaza were broadcasted, instructing them to stay away from the resistance, from Hamas positions and from eastern regions (the border area). The radio’s website was hacked and pictures of the Israeli flag along with phrases such as "peace for Israel" and "Israel is under threat" were posted. Other Palestinian news sites were also subjected to intense hacking attacks, a number of whom were forced to stop working for hours or days on end, including the SAFA and Pal Today agencies.


Sunday 18th November 2012, the Israeli Occupation Forces bombed the Shawa, Alhusari and Alshurouq towers, warning foreign journalists to evacuate the Alshurouq tower in particular. Many offices and employees of local, Arab and international media outlets operate in Gaza and this latest aerial assault has placed yet more obstacles in the path of journalists and media reporting. MADA issued a statement on Sunday 18th November 2012 denouncing the Israeli occupation strike against media headquarters and another press release in condemnation of killing the baby son of Arabic BBC journalist, Jihad Mashharawi, through the bombing and destruction of his home.


MADA center renews its condemnation of the increasing number of attacks on journalists, which constitute a flagrant violation of international laws and conventions. MADA calls upon the International community to immediately intervene to protect journalists.