Media freedoms violations in Palestine during December 2014
Ramallah 9/1/2015- MADA: December 2014 has witnessed another escalation in the violations on media freedoms comparing with November. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has monitored 30 violations against media freedoms in Palestine.
This escalation of violations shows that freedom of expression is narrowing, and difficulties for journalists are increasing.
The Occupation authorities have escalated their harassment of Palestinians for their writings on Facebook, and continued to physically assault journalists. The most dangerous physical attack this month was the shooting of Palestine Public TV cameraman Mahmoud Nazzal with an explosive bullet.
December witnessed also an escalation of violations on behalf of Palestinian parties against journalists, media students and activists for their writings on Facebook. There were new types of violations, for instance in Gaza a statement was issued in the name of ISIS accusing 18 journalists, poets and writers of apostasy and threatening to kill them if they did not return to Islam.
The IOF targeted Palestine Public TV cameraman Bashar Nazzal (aged 36) with an explosive bullet while he was covering a demonstration against settlements in Kafr Qadoum, and assaulted Ro’ya TV cameraman and director Mohammad Dar Zaid and prevented him from covering an event of olive trees planting in Turmusayya, east of Ramallah. On 23/12 the Associated Press cameraman Iyad Hammad and other 6 journalists (Munjed Jado, Samer Maghribi, Mahmoud Elayyan, Musa Qawasme, Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoon and Ahmad Mizher_ suffered from suffocation as a result of the Israeli stun and teargas grenades.
The IOF arrested Asda’ news website correspondent Qutaiba Qassem at the “Container” checkpoint, north of Hebron. They also arrested the British associations “In the mind” and “You Free” photojournalist and director of Palestine Prisoners Center Osama Shahin. The Israeli settlers and some Israeli soldiers assaulted Bait Al-Maqdes agency and Himma News agency correspondent Liwa’ Abu Rmeleh. On the same day, the IOF arrested the photojournalist Abdul Afo Zughayer while he was covering events in Jerusalem. On 27/12 a unit from the IOF raided the house of Wattan TV cameraman Mohammad Awad and summoned him for interrogation.
The Israeli Authority prevented a member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate secretariat and manager of Clacket for Media Omar Nazzal from travelling through Al-Karama Bridge without giving him any reason.
The Israeli authorities also continued harassing social media activists, arresting 8 Palestinians from Jerusalem for their writings on Facebook.
December witnessed an unprecedented number of violations by Palestinian sides, the most dangerous of which was the issuance of a statement in Gaza in the name of ISIS accusing 18 journalists and writers of apostasy and threatening them if they did not return to Islam.
The statement included the names of the following journalists, poets and writers: Dunia Al-Amal Ismael, Khaled Jum’a, Ali Abu Khattab, Dua’ Kamal, Iyad Al-Bal’awi, Atef Abu Saif, Hussam Ma’rouf, Mohammad Al-Sheik Yousef, Othman Hussein, Nidal Al-Fq’awi, Akram Al-Sorani, Yousef Al-Qadra, Sahar Mousa, Samah Al-Sheik Deeb, Manal Miqdad, Ahmad Yaqoub, Naser Rabah, and Wissam Oweida. The statement was sent to their emails before being published. 4 of them are journalists (Dunia Ismael, Atef Abu Saif, Akram Sorani and Samah Al-Sheikh).
Journalist Ahmad Zaki has been dismissed from his position as manager of the news section of the Palestinian Public TV for criticizing in his Facebook page the Egyptian “Fara’in” TV show presenter Tawfiq Okasha, and the Palestinian TV for hosting him.
A number of arrest and summoning for interrogation were monitored in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip: the Preventive Security arrested Baha’ Al-Jayyousi from Tulkarem on 2/12 for vilifying important personalities on Facebook. The Preventive Security also arrested Al-Quds University media student Islam Za’al on 3/12 for allegedly publishing inciting news against the Palestinian authority on Facebook.
A unit of the Preventive Security forces stormed the house of Al-Quds University media student Amer Abu Hlayel and searched it on 5/12, before they left an arrest order to his family for his writings on Facebook. The Preventive Security forces also committed violations against a number of journalists: they summoned the freelance journalist Ameer Abu Aram and interrogated him on 9/12; they also raided the house of Wattan TV cameraman Mohammad Awad to arrest him (but his family did not allow them in) on 10/12; they filed a complaint to the General Prosecution in Nablus against Al-Quds TV producer and Al-Safir newspaper correspondent Majdolin Hassoune and interrogated her for her writings on Facebook, accusing her of vilifying VIPs on 14/12.
The Preventive Security also arrested Wattan correspondent Aysar Barghouthi in his house in Kafr Ain, north Ramallah, on 28/12. Four men assaulted the freelance journalist Muath Amleh and beat him after he received two threats for his writings against the Qabalan municipality on 29/12. The Preventive Security Forces summoned Ahrar Al-Asra center journalist and human rights activist Mahmoud Milhim on 3/12 but he did not go to their headquarters. On 12/12 the Palestinian Security forces prevented Al-Aqsa TV correspondent Ala’ Al-Titi and his colleague the cameraman Mahmoud Abu Yousif from covering a festival organized by Hamas in Hebron. They detained Al-Titi after bringing him to the Intelligence service headquarters. On the same day the Preventive Security forces seized the ID of Al-Jazeera net correspondent Awad Rjoub while he was heading to cover the same Hamas festival and they tried to prevent him from covering. On 14/12 Quds Press agency correspondent Zaid Abu Arra received a summons from the director of the Preventive Security by phone telling him that they were going to arrest him, and on 21/12 the Preventive Security forces summoned Al-Quds University media student Qutaiba Hamdan, detained him, interrogated him and beat him.
In Gaza, Shu’lat Al-I’lam journalist Saher Al-Aqra’ was threatened by emails and sms for his writings. The Internal Security in Gaza summoned Reyada media agency manager Yahya Al-Madhoun and interrogated him.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns these violations against journalists and freedom of expression and expresses its concerns about their escalation of and the appearance of new dangerous types of violations.
MADA renews the demand to put an end to the impunity of the Israeli authorities, soldiers and settlers for their violations of media freedoms, especially the targeting of Bashar Nazzal.
MADA also demands Palestinian officials to put an end to these escalated violations against media freedoms by the security forces. MADA asks for a real investigation about the threat of 18 writers and journalists in Gaza and to hold those responsible accountable. MADA also asks Palestinian officials to investigate the assault against the freelance journalist Muath Amleh for his criticism on Facebook, which was committed by identified persons.
MADA emphasizes on holding all the aggressors accountable.
Details of Violations
1/12- A statement signed by the so-called Islamic State in Gaza was released, directly threatening 18 journalists, writers and poets from the Gaza Strip, accused of apostasy and insult to Islam and God.
This statement, which is not the first of its kind from ISIS in Gaza, accused those journalists and artists of immoral writings, and threatened that the Islamic State will indict them of apostasy if they do not return to Islam.
The following journalists and writers were targeted: Dunia Al-Amal Ismael, Khaled Jum’a, Ali Abu Khattab, Dua’ Kamal, Iyad Al-Bal’awi, Atef Abu Saif, Hussam Ma’rouf, Mohammad Al-Sheik Yousef, Othman Hussein, Nidal Al-Fq’awi, Akram Al-Sorani, Yousef Al-Qadra, Sahar Mousa, Samah Al-Sheik Deeb, Manal Miqdad, Ahmad Yaqoub, Naser Rabah, and Wissam Oweida.
The writer Dunia Ismael reported to MADA on 24/12: “I and the other mentioned writers and journalists received the statement in our e-mail box a day before it was published and distributed to universities and the media. The email, in which the statement was attached, read: “We send you this statement a day before we distribute it. We warned you, and may God witness.” She explained that the email address sending the message was closed three days after the statement was published.
She added: “On 2/12 I filed a complaint with the general prosecutor in Gaza, Ismael Jaber. We later organized a sit-in in front of the general prosecutor office to urge the security officials in Gaza to take action.”
She observed that the authorities did not deal with the complaint seriously and underestimated the statement, saying that ISIS is not present in Gaza and that the security forces are careful to protect everybody. She added that her colleague Manal Miqdad also filed a complaint on 3/12 but the general prosecution refused to take it.
She said further: “We tried to meet with the general prosecutor but they prevented us. After we made a sit-in, they let three of us meet him together with an employee from the ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Suhaib Madi. Akram Sorani, Manal Miqdad and I sat with them for two hours but nothing came out of it until now.” She regards this as a failure in following-up with the issue, and pointed out that another statement was released threatening to bomb the French Cultural Center in Gaza few days after they published the statement threatening the 18 journalists and writers was released.
2/12 The internal security in Gaza summoned the journalist Mohammad Awad (aged 27) and interrogated him about his journalistic work during the latest Israeli attack on Gaza.
Awad reported to MADA: “I got a summon from the internal security in Gaza on Tuesday and I went there on time. They asked me about the reasons of my travel to Turkey, where I stayed for 6 months. They also wanted to know whom I met and worked with, in addition to investigating about my journalism work during the attack on Gaza. They accused me of working with suspicious people, especially with a journalist from West Bank (he refused to mention her name), but I refused all these accusations.”
Awad added: “During the investigation they searched my laptop and phone and checked my Facebook page. Later I figured out that they had deleted everything on my phone’s memory as well as some comments. At around 1 pm they released me.”
2/12- The Preventive Security Forces arrested Baha’ Yaser al-Jayyousi (aged 36) two weeks after the Palestinian Intelligence services summoned him for investigation, accusing him of vilifying prominent persons on his Facebook page.
His brother Mohammad and his lawyer Jaser Khalil reported to MADA that on Tuesday a unit from the Preventive Security raided the supermarket where Baha’ works and arrested him. On the next day, the prosecution expanded his detention for another 48 hours to complete the investigation.
On Thursday they expanded the arrest for another 15 days after Tulkarem’s mayor filed a complaint against him accusing him of vilifying VIPs on Facebook, according to his lawyer Jasser Khalil. He explained that the intelligence services interrogated him for 2 hours about the political situation in general and about his criticism of the PA. They told him that he is one of them, that “his political affiliation is with Fatah” and therefore he should not criticize them.
After his release, Baha’ reported to MADA: “On the second day of my detention, they accused me of vilification and slander because of a post some of my relatives posted on my Facebook page on the day of my arrest. I did not know what the main charge against me was. It seemed that the order came from an important person, I think it was Tulkarem’s mayor.”
He added: “My detention was prolonged for 48 hours by the prosecution and for another 5 days by the court. On Monday 8/12, after the judge saw that my file had not been examined yet, he read the accusation which was ‘destabilizing security’ and expanded my detention for another 7 days unless I had a warranty. My lawyer signed a 1,000 Jordanian Dinars personal warranty, which was approved at the next court session on 14/1, further to which I was released.”
3/12- The Palestinian preventive security service arrested Al-Quds university media student Islam Za’al Salem (aged 23), accusing him of publishing inciting posts against the Palestinian Authority on his Facebook page.
His wife Yassmine Badawne reported to MADA: “On Wednesday Islam received a phone call while he was at university, asking him to ‘surrender’ to the Preventive Security unit. Although they did not send him a formal summons as he had asked, he went to their headquarters after his classes.”
The lawyer Ala’ Salim (who is also his sister) reported: “The court session was held on 4/12 accusing Islam of ‘inciting sectarian strife’ and of publishing inciting messaged against the Palestinian authority. He was accused of this for the reason of managing a page on Facebook entitled “Shabab Al-Balad” (“the youth of the country”) where he posts news from news agencies. His detention was extended for 15 days.”
On 7/12 the lawyer submitted a request to the head of the prosecution to release Islam, and supplied with his exams schedule that start on 14/12. The head of the prosecution promised to consider this on 10/12 Islam was released, he reported to MADA : “I was released on 10/12 with an unpaid 1,000 JD warranty and a pledge that I should be present at the court session (they did not set the date yet). They interrogated me about the reasons why the Israelis arrested me and about the period I stayed in jail, as well as the Facebook page I am managing. They also asked me about Hamas’ preparations and activities for the celebration of its founding. On 21/12 I went to their headquarters and they interrogated me again in a friendly manner. The investigator asked me my opinion as a journalist about the bombing that happened in Gaza and the demonstrations supporting Mohammed Dahlan against the president Mahmoud Abbas. At last he asked me to write less on Facebook and he told me that they would call me again if they needed me.”
3/12- The President’s political consultant Nimr Hammad has orally informed the journalist Ahmad Zaki that he was dismissed from his position as manager of the news section at the Palestinian Public TV.
Zaki was dismissed for criticizing the TV for hosting the Egyptian Fara’in TV maneger Tawfiq Okasha. Zaki reported to MADA: “I have been orally informed that I had been dismissed from my position at the TV on 3/12 by Nimr Hammad.” Zaki thinks that the dismissal was due to the fact that he opposed and criticized on Facebook the hosting of Tawfiq Okasha who called for the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. He said also on his Facebook page that the interview of Okasha was made by Awda TV and that the Palestinian Public TV only broadcasted it.
Zaki added: “What I wrote on Facebook caused uproar in the media. They accused me of criticizing indirectly the President even though I was only defending the media outlet I work for.”Zaki said that he did not receive a written dismiss notice until 28/12.
Note: The hosting of Tawfiq Okasha by the Palestinian Public TV caused wide criticism among the Palestinian people because Okasha insulted Palestinians in his TV show on “Al-Fara’in”TV.
3/12- The Preventive Security service summoned Ahrar Al-Asra journalist and human rights activist Mahmoud Matar Milhim (aged 26).
Milhim reported to MADA: “I received a phone call telling me to go to the preventive service headquarter in Jenin. I asked for a formal summon since a mere summons by phone call is not legal. This also happened to me 5 months ago and I refused to go. I think they want to interrogate me about a video I posted on Facebook criticizing the hosting of Tawfiq Okasha on the Palestinian Public TV. One of my relatives who works with them confirmed it to me.”
5/12- The Palestinian Public TV cameraman Bashar Mahmoud Nazzal (aged 36) was severely injured by the Israeli forces who shot at him with a silencer weapon while he was covering the weekly demonstration against the apartheid wall in Kafr Qadoum.
Nazzal reported to MADA: “I went to Kafr Qadoum after Friday prayer to cover the weekly demonstration. There were Israeli jeeps, wastewater tanks and snipers. The IOF started spraying the wastewater and after a while the soldiers deliberately shot at me with a single bullet. The bullet hit my leg and exploded there. I was shot at while I was standing far away from the protesters.”
He added: “The bullet caused severe injuries in my left leg and broke bones. On Saturday 6/12/2014 I had an operation at the Specialized Arab Hospital in Nablus. They removed 4 fragments but the rest stayed in my leg.”
5/12- The preventive security service raided the house of Al-Quds University media student Amer Tawfiq Hlayel (aged 22), searched it and handed an arrest order to his family.
Hlayel reported to MADA: “The preventive security forces raided my family house in Hebron while I was in Ramallah; they left an arrest order and told my father that I should surrender myself in their headquarters in Hebron in 48 hours.”
He added: “On 8/12 I did not go due to my final exams and to my bad health conditions which make me incapable of enduring any kind of torture or beating.. I think they wanted to arrest me for my criticizing posts on Facebook, and because of a video my colleague Islam Salem and I made on YouTube, entitled ‘Release media student Mohammad Atta from jail’ which criticizes Atta’s arrest for political reasons.”
On 17/12 they asked him another time to go to their headquarters in Hebron on 20/12 and pledged that he would not get any bad treatment or beating. On 21 he went there and was interrogated in 3 sessions.
He said: “They treated me very bad; the investigator asked me about my friends and took my Facebook password, opened my account and read my posts. They also asked me about my brother who resides in Qatar. The interrogations lasted until 12:30 PM. They released me and made me sign a paper that I would return on Tuesday 23/12 to continue the interrogation at 10:00 am, but I did not go. On 30/12 I went to their headquarters again after being called by the Preventive Security. They interrogated me and accused me of being in contact with Gaza, especially with 4 News agancy journalist Fathi Al-Farra, saying that he sends me money. The interrogations lasted from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm, and then they released me and told me they might call me again.”
NB: The link to the mentioned video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWFgO4QvNSw
9/12- The preventive security service summoned the freelance journalist Amir Khalil Abu Arram (aged 23).
Abu Arram reported to MADA: “On 1/12 I received a summons letter to go to the preventive security headquarter on 11/12 but on 9/12 they came to my house and handed both my brother and I official summon letters to go to their headquarters on the next day. We went at 10:00 am and they interrogated me for 8 hours about general stuff related to Hamas and their activities. I felt tired, dizzy and stiffed and they took me to the hospital. They released me from the hospital and did not set another interrogation session; they also released my brother at 10:00 the next day.”
10/12- The Preventive Security service raided the house of Wattan TV cameraman Mohammad Shukri Awad (aged 27) to arrest him. Awad reported to MADA: “At 1:30 am a unit of 12 members of the Preventive Security forces raided my house in Budrus village west Ramallah and said they wanted to arrest me. At the beginning I did not object and went to take my clothes. Then they wanted to search our house but my family prevented them unless they showed an official paper that allows them to. My family also did not allow them to arrest me, which outraged them. They told us that they would know how to deal with us. I was not summoned later.”
10/12- The Israeli Occupation Forces assaulted Ro’ya cameraman and director Ashraf Mohamed Dar Zaid and prevented him from filming olive tree planting in the village of Turmusayya west Ramalla.
He reported to MADA: “We arrived in Turmusayya to cover the olive trees planting celebration. The IOF attacked an old man and when his son went to help him the IOF beat him. I came closer to film that incident and one of the soldiers pushed me three times to prevent me from covering. Later, 4 soldiers cuffed my hands and dragged me to their military vehicle. Ro’ya correspondent Ahmad Barahme and Al-Haya Al-Jadida photographer Issam Rimawi tried to convince the soldiers that I am a journalist and that I am only doing my job but the soldiers pushed them away. Then the soldiers took me out of the vehicle and forced me to kneel for 45 minutes then they released me.”
10/12- The IOF arrested Asda’ agency correspondent Qutaiba Saleh Qasem (aged 26) at the “Container” checkpoint while he was leaving Ramallah for Hebron.
His father reported to MADA: “The IOF raided our house on Saturday and they seized his laptop and desktop computer. We do not know where Qutaiba is.”
He added: “On 17/12 I was informed that Qutaiba was at Al-Maskoubiyya (investigation center in Jerusalem) and that we had to hire a lawyer but we were not allowed to visit him before 15 days.”
On 29/12 a court session was held and they decided to extend the detention for 8 days (until 7/1/2015), they did not allow the lawyer to visit him and he has no information at all about Qutaiba’s file.”
10/12- The IOF arrested the British associations “In the mind” and “You Free” photojournalist and Palestine Prisoners Center director Osama Shahin (aged 33).
His lawyer Ashraf Abu Snaine reported to MADA: “On 10/12 the IOF arrested Shahin at the “Container” checkpoint and took him for interrogation at Ofra prison(near Ramallah), accusing him of being an activist that has affiliation with Hamas. They transferred him to the administrative detention on 14/12 although he denied the accusations, on 17/12 they held a court session to confirm his administrative detention.”
12/12- The Palestinian security forces prevented Al-Aqsa TV correspondent Ala’ Jaber Al-Titi (aged 32) and his colleague the cameraman Mahmoud Abu Yousif from covering a celebration organized by Hamas in Hebron. They detained Al-Titi in the Intelligence services headquarters.
Al-Titi reported to MADA: “My colleague and I went to cover the celebration of the 27th anniversary of Hamas’ establishment. After passing many checkpoints manned by the Palestinian Security forces, we were stopped at another one in the Wadi Al-Hariyye area. They seized our IDs. Ten minutes later they released my colleague Mahmoud but they kept me detained.”
Al-Titi added: “They also seized my cell phones and took me to the Intelligence service headquarters. Two hours later they summoned me for questioning about where I was going and how I had been arrested. They also asked if I wanted to attend Hamas’ festival as a journalist or as a member of Hamas. I signed the report of the interrogation and stayed in detention until 10:30. After that, the head officer came and released me. They kept my phones until Wednesday to search them but they gave them back after the intervention of Jihad Qawasmi of the Journalists syndicate secretariat.
12/12- The preventive security forces seized the ID of Al-Jazeera net correspondent Awad Ibrahim Rjoub (aged 39) while he was heading to cover Hamas festival.
Rjoub reported to MADA: “I was going to Hebron to cover Hamas’ festival and there were many Palestinian checkpoints. At one of these checkpoints a unit from the Preventive Security forces stopped me and my brother and seized our IDs for 10 minutes, they also seized my camera and asked me to get in their military vehicle but I refused. 15 minutes later, they released us and we went to cover the event. After I finished my work, I went to the Preventive Security headquarters in Hebron to get my ID back.”
14/12- Al-Quds Press Agency correspondent Zaid Mohamed Abu Arra (aged 28) form Jenin received a call from the Preventive Security director telling him that he will be arrested.
Abu Arra reported to MADA: “The executive director of the Preventive security called me and told me to get prepared because I would be arrested. I waited until 8:00 but no one came. They had already come to our house a day before and my brother refused to take the summons paper since I was not there. Nothing happened (till 29/12).”
14/12- The general prosecution in Nablus summoned Al-Quds TV producer and Al-Safir newspaper correspondent Majdolin Reda Hassoune (age 25) and interrogated her about her writings on Facebook. She was accused of slandering and vilifying the President.
She reported to MADA: “I received a summons from the General Prosecution in Nablus saying that I should go to their headquarters. I went on 16/12 and the head of the prosecution office asked me to sign a commitment to come to the headquarters on 22/12. He refused to tell me the charges against me. I later knew that I was accused of insulting the president and prominent personalities.”
Hassoune added: “On 22/12 I went at 10:00 am to the prosecution office in Nablus with the presence of MADA’s lawyer Mohammad Saqf Il-Hait and Marsad NGO lawyer. They interrogated me for two hours about old posts I published on my Facebook page. They accused me of slandering and insulting the president and VIPs, even though I told them that these posts were fake because my account had been hacked.”
She added: “The general prosecution decided to transfer my file to the court after making sure of the accusations against me. I later knew that the preventive security services are the ones who pressed the charges against me.”
18/12- A number of Israeli settlers assaulted Bait Al-Maqdes agency and Himma News agency correspondent Liwa’ Wael Abu Rmeleh (aged 23) from Jerusalem. She reported to MADA: “A number of settlers stormed Al-Aqsa mosque, I tried to enter it when a settler pushed me. After I headed to get my ID back from the Police, the officer tried to arrest me but I refused so he took my Journalist’s card and copied it before he gave it back to me.”
18/12- The IOF arrested the freelance photographer Abdul Afow Bassam Zughayer (aged 22) while he was covering events in Jerusalem. Zughayer reported to MADA: “I was in the Old City of Jerusalem taking photos of the settlers’ behaviors after they stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and assaulted Al-Aqsa guards. That caused clashes between the Palestinians and the Israeli settlers. The Israeli police arrested me and 3 settlers and took us to Beit Yahu, then to the Qashle interrogation center. They released the settlers and kept me, accusing me of assaulting the settlers.”
Zughayer added: “I appeared in front of the court the next day, I was sentenced to be excluded from the Old City for 15 days and to pay a 5,000 NIS (1,260$) bail. After that I was released. They also kept my cellphone.”
21/12- The preventive security forces summoned Al-Quds University media student at Qutaiba Mohamed Hamdan (aged 22) many times and detained him.
He reported to MADA: “The preventive security forces summoned me to their headquarters on Wednesday 24/12. A week ago I received another summons but I did not go until I finish my final exams since I had been arrested last March for 20 days.”
He added: “On Wednesday 21/12 I arrived at the Preventive Security headquarters in Ramallah at 12:30 pm and after one hour they detained me in a cell until the evening. Then they called me and beat me severely. They were three; I was tortured with the “Palestinian hanging” or “Strappado” technique and severely beaten. They released me at 11:00 pm. They also kept my ID until Saturday.”
He added: “When I went to get my ID back on Saturday, they interrogated me again for less than an hour, questioning me about my father’s political affiliation. They also interrogated me about what I posted on my Facebook account, they threatened me with beating me again if I made another mistake.
23/12- The Associated Press cameraman Iyad Hamad (aged 55) suffered from suffocation and fainted as a result of teargas bombs thrown by the IOF against journalists and participants of a peaceful demonstration.
He reported to MADA: “On 23/12 we went to cover the demonstration organized by the popular resistance in Bethlehem to ask for the opening of the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem for Christmas. When we arrived at the checkpoint 300 north of Bethlehem, the IOF started beating everyone and throwing teargas and stun grenades. I fainted and fell on the ground, I was treated on the field. A number of journalists also suffered from suffocation, they were: Munjed Jado, Samer Maghribi Mahmoud Elayyan, Musa Qawasme, Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoon and Ahmad Mizher.
23/12- Shu’lat Al-I’lam journalist Saher Khalil Al-Aqra’ (aged 32) was threatened by email and phone.
He reported to MADA: “On Tuesday 23/12 I received threatening messages on my email and cellphone from an Israeli number. The message said: “From Mohammad Dahlan followers to Saher Al-Aqra’: the articles you write against the leader Mohammad Dahlan will not protect your head from a bullet that will be shot soon. Writing against Dahlan means punishment. Punishment = death… Do not write anything if you want to save your life.”
23/12- The Israeli authorities prevented Omar Naji Nazzal (aged 53), board member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and manager of Clacket for Media, from travelling to Jordan through Al-Karama crossing.
He reported to MADA: “On 23/12 I was prevented from traveling when I arrived at Al-Karama crossing; they seized my passport and told me that the Israeli Intelligence services banned me from traveling, without telling me the reason and without interrogating me.” He added: “I have been banned although I was in Jordan only two weeks ago and I travel a lot for professional reasons.”
27/12- The IOF raided the house of Wattan TV cameraman Mohammad shukri Awad (aged 27) and gave him a summons to go to their headquarters.
He reported to MADA: “On Sunday the IOF raided my house and gave me a summons to go to Ofra prison Intelligence section for interrogation on 30/12. When I went, they postponed my interrogation until the next day.
“I went on the next day and they put me in a cell for a long period until the officer came and questioned me about my work. After answering him, he told me to take my ID and not to tell anybody about what had happened. I asked him if I could travel in June 2015 and he said: ‘Do not even dream about it, unless you collaborate with us.’ He released me at 3:00 pm.”
28/12- Gaza internal security summoned Yahya Al-Madhoun (aged 35), Reyada news agency head and Al-Azhar University students affairs manager.
Al-Madhoun reported to MADA: “On 28/12 I headed to the Internal Security headquarters in Jabalia after being summoned. He explained that they interrogated him on different issues and said: “They interrogated me about the source of the financial aid I offer to the students and I told them I got the money through a fundraising campaign and it had been distributed to the students according to a list of needs. They also interrogated me about what I wrote on Facebook (about being summoned by the Internal Security). I told them that I refused this way of summoning and that I have the right to write.”
“They also asked me about my journalistic work, I answered that I work at Riyada news agency. They released me at 1:00.”
28/12- The preventive security arrested Wattan TV correspondent Aysar Kamel Al-Barghouthi (aged 27) in his house in Kafr Ain village north of Ramallah.
He reported to MADA: “At 11:00 pm two cars of the preventive security forces arrived at my house and started calling my name until I came out. They took my ID and took me with them to their Balou’ office in Ramallah, where they put me in a wide warm room until the morning without talking to me.”
He added: “At 10:30 of the next day the interrogator talked to me for less than 10 minutes and he told that I am here because they have previously summoned me and I did not go to their headquarters, he also told me that I should obey whenever they summon me. He mentioned my writings on Facebook and told me that it is better to only focus on my profession as a journalist and they released me at 11:00 am.”
The preventive security has summoned Al-Barghouthi on 6/12 but he did not go since he was in Jordan to attend a conference.
29/12- Four people (two of them from the Palestinian Security Forces) have severely beaten the freelance journalist Muath Mousa Amleh (aged 24) from Qabalan after he received threats for his writings against the municipality of Qabalan.
He reported to MADA: “I was standing in front of a public services office in Qabalan and I was severely beaten by hands and stones by four men (relatives of Qabalan mayor). I went to the clinic for treatment and took a medical report that proves I have bruises under my eye and an injury behind my ear, and then I headed to the police station to file a complaint against them. I was surprised to see that the four men were there to file a complaint against me because one of them was injured while I was defending myself. They threatened me and told me that I will lose a lot if I filed a complaint against them.”
He added: “I have previously received two threats from the same people, once on Facebook and another one in front of my house.” “I will file a complaint at the military intelligence agency since two of them are from the security forces.”