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“MADA”: 22 violations of media freedoms in Palestine during October 2016


Ramallah- (13/11/2016) - October 2016 witnessed a decline in total number of violations against media freedoms compared to previous months. A total of 22 violations were monitored by Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” during October including (11 violations by Israeli Occupation and 11 violations by Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza Strip).


Total numbers of violations monitored in October (22 violations) were considered as the lowest rate of violations against media freedoms recorded since the beginning of the year in Palestine.


Israeli violations:


Israeli occupation during October committed 11 violations against media freedoms in Palestine, as the majority of violations fell into the serious category, as the most prominent of all violations was IOF storming "Infinity” printing house, in Hebron at dawn of 16/10 searched and confiscated many of its equipment and devices that disrupted its work.


Moreover IOF wounded cameraman of “AP” Agency Majdi Mohammed Shtayyeh with a rubber bullet in the back fired by an Israeli soldier while he was covering arresting a citizen in the town of Al-Ram (north of Jerusalem) on 9/10.

In addition, to detaining dozens of Palestinian journalists during a tour organized by the Palestinian Ministry of Information in the Jordan Valley (Ein Alsakut area) on 4/10 and prevented them from conducting interviews with farmers, IOF claimed that journalists presence was in a restricted zone, noting that the “restricted zone” had been recovered by a decision of the Israeli occupation district court.



Palestinian Violations:

Palestinian violations monitored during the month of October topped to 11 (7 in West Bank and 4 in Gaza Strip) less than half of what was recorded in September 21 violations. Palestinian violations ranged during October between summons, interrogations, arrests, confiscation of equipment.


The most prominent was arresting the photographer of “Ramsat” agency Nidal Asmar Al Natsheh by preventive security service, for seven days, that took place after raiding and searching his house in Hebron, and confiscating several devices and equipment, noting that he was summoned previously and his office was raided on 13/10.

Palestinian Intelligence arrested cameraman of Al Quds Educational Channel Mahmoud Mattar for five days, in Jenin governorate.


Internal Security Service in Gaza continued to prosecuting a program presenter at AL Nahar Channel Nuha Abu Amro as she was summoned and interrogated twice rather than confiscating her mobile, and accessing her personal account on Facebook.


October violations in details:

(02/10)- Preventive security service, and Palestinian intelligence sevice summoned the editor and announcer in “Alhurrieh- local Radio” Muhammad Saeed Jahabsheh (32 years) more than once, they also interrogated him and detained him till midnight once, as he reported to MADA” I was handed a written summon by preventive security service in Hebron city to present myself at their headquarters on 02/10, yet I didn’t comply, as the Palestinian journalist syndicate informed me not to go, based on a previous agreement between the syndicate and the public prosecution to not prosecute journalists, despite that on 05/10 I received a phone call by the intelligence service in Hebron to present myself at their headquarters, when I replied that the syndicate informed me not to, the officer replied if you did not present yourself we will bring you, hence I informed my director and the syndicate what happened”.

He also added” this was repeated on 16/10, as I was informed through my neighbor (an officer at the Palestinian Intelligence) that Abu Rajab the officer in charge of the intelligence service in Hebron, wants to talk to me for ten minutes, therefore I called him, he asked me not to inform the syndicate, and I headed to the headquarter”.

He also added ”when I reached the intelligence headquarter the officers at the front door took my mobile and ID, and once I asked them about Abu Rajab they denied the name, I received a bad and humiliating treatment, as I stayed there two hours without anyone talking to me, I was transferred to several places they interrogated me for ten minutes only, on the same subject of my previous arrest by the preventive security service in July, after receiving and withholding all my belongings they handcuffed me, and presented me to the medical inspection, afterwards, I was detained in a room, once I asked for a cup of water they transferred me to a cell for half an hour, until my boss Ayman Qawasmi show up at the headquarter, and talked to the intelligence officer in charge I was released around 12:00am”.


(04/10)- Palestinian security, banned journalists from covering a demonstration that took place in Ramallah, as correspondent of Palestine today Jihad Ibrahm Barakat (26 years) reported to MADA”I headed with some colleagues including journalists (Shasha news website photographer Iyad Abu Shalbak, Mahmoud Al-Sa’dy and Naela Khalil from Al-Araby Al Jadeed, Saed Hewari Reuters photographer and photographer Issam  Rimawi at Al Hayat Al jadeda), to cover a demonstration in Ramallah city center around 5:00pm, a pro- Fatah demonstration started at al Manarah square, and the another one organized by activists that was supposed to start at Arafat square near al Manarah square”.

Barakat added ”after I headed to Arafat square I was banned from covering the demonstration, as a person headed toward me, in civilian clothes, and asked me to hand him my mobile, as he wanted to check what I previously captured, noting that by that time I didn’t capture anything yet, when the argument escalated three others (also in civilian clothes), one of them claimed that he saw me interviewing someone who claimed of being beaten by security services, they left me after some colleagues intervened, they also banned a colleague of mine, photographer of Shasha news Iyad Abu Shalbak from covering the demonstration, and confiscated the camera memory card o by someone in civilian clothes and did not return it even after the demonstration”.


(04/10)- IOF detained (54 journalists males/females) during a tour organized by the Ministry of Information in the Jordan Valley area (Ein Alsakut) and prevented them from completing interviews with farmers, as IOF claimed that this prevention was based on a fact that journalists accessed a restricted zone, noting that the zone was recovered through a decision of the Israeli occupation court, according to the spokeswomen on behalf of the Palestinian Ministry of Information Nida’ Yousef Younis (39 years) who reported to MADA that "the Ministry of Information organized a tour to the northern Jordan Valley area (Tubas, Ein Alsakut) 3,400 acres, that have been recovered under a judicial warrant issued by an Israeli court for the benefit of the Palestinian farmers, after the Israeli occupation confiscated it in 1967, during the tour journalists were detained by IOF claiming it is an Israeli territory.

 She added” following the Israeli court issued the decision of returning the land, we at Ministry of Information organized a tour, with a participation of 54 journalists, rather than other representatives of media outlets and international organizations, who aimed to interview farmers in the area, once we reached there we were banned to take the main street, we were forced to take an impassable road filled with thorns, Israeli patrol headed toward us,  near Ain Alsakut (at the water spring) and prevented journalists from covering, correspondent of Palestine TV Maysa Ayyad and another journalist (I could not identify) they were pushed in order to prevent them from filming, moreover, IOF filmed all participants in the tour and held the identities of the two guides who took part in the tour and held the license and Identities of the bus drivers, and when we tried to leave the place the patrols prevented us; and took our identities and threatened us to copy the IDs and call the Israeli police, on the grounds that we accessed a restricted zone, and after 3 hours of detention we informed the Palestinian liaison who intervened hence, an Israeli officer gave us our IDs as an exchange to leave the place immediately”.


(09/10)- cameraman of “AP” agency Majdi Mohammed Shtayyeh (34year) was injured with a rubber bullet in his back fired by an Israeli soldier while he was covering the arrest of a citizen in the town of Al-Ram (north of Jerusalem), as he reported "I went to the town of Al-Ram to cover the events that followed the martyrdom  of  Musbah Abu Sabih who carried out an operation in Jerusalem, as Israeli forces arrested his father, and while I was covering the arrest soldiers told me more than once to stay away from the place while insulting me, and when I moved away upon their request a soldier shot me  with a rubber bullet that injured me between my left shoulder and back”.

He also added” after I received first aid in an ambulance while heading to Ramallah hospital, I got an x-ray and diagnosed with superficial injuries, hence I left the hospital in a short period”.


(13/10)- the Palestinian Preventive security service arrested the photographer of Ramsat Agency Nidal Asmar Al Natsheh (28 years) after raiding his house, searching and confiscating some devices, that happened after summoning him and raiding his office at Ramsat Agency as Al-Natsheh reported to MADA” I was arrested from my house after raiding and searching it around 10:00pm of Thursday 13/10 during the raid they confiscated my personal laptop, four flashes, 3 hard desks, and several old books and journals, I was escorted to the headquarters of the preventive security service in Hebron, they interrogated me on reports claiming that preventive security service received information claiming that I am working at Al Aqsa channel, whence I clarified that I am working at Ramsat that provides services for several media outlets and channels including Al Aqsa”.

He also added” on Sunday 15/10 I was presented to the public prosecutor office based on charges of lengthening tongue and mug (criticizing officials in a harsh way), following my posts on social media particularly Facebook, I was exposed to four interrogation sessions during the first three days of my arrest, and then I was detained in a cell, I wasn’t exposed to any humiliating treatment or beatings, on Thursday 20/10 I was released on bail, after 7 days of arrest, under a condition to present myself at the preventive security service headquarters on 23/10, hence, I went as scheduled waited for four hours without interrogation, then they set another date to follow up on Tuesday 25/10”.

He added” I was surprised that my manager (Ghazi Abu Jyab) informed me that working with the agency as a/former political detainee/ constitutes danger to the interests of the agency, hence I was orally terminated, although the interrogation basically focused on my work at the agency, hence I requested a written termination document clarifying termination reasons”.

Lina Ismael Al-Wawi his fiancée reported in previous statement to MADA that Al Natsheh received on the afternoon of 10/10 a summon to follow up with the preventive security on the next day at 10:00, and when Al-Natsheh followed up with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate they recommended him not to go on basis of a previous agreement between them and the general prosecution, she said that preventive security service raided his office on Thursday 13/10, as he wasn’t in office they raided his house and arrested him there”.


(16/10)- IOF force stormed Infinity Printing house, and searched it and confiscated several equipment and devices, disrupting their work, as Waseem Rashad Qawasmi (25years) an employee at the printing house, reported to MADA “a troop of IOF stormed the printing house located in Hebron, Al-Salam street, around 01:00am on Sunday 16/10 as the soldiers where almost going to explode the electronic front door, our neighbors contacted us and we came immediately and opened the door”. 

He also added ”IOF entered the premises allowing only one of the employees to join them; which was my colleague Mutaz Al Jubeh , they confiscated 4 personal  MAC computers that belong to the designing department, and all hard desks (15), they also tried to confiscate a Xerox Machine we bought two weeks ago that costed around 200 thousand dollars, when my colleague Mutaz tried to thwart them, they confiscated several pieces of the machine which disrupted using it, they also confiscated several pieces of the outdoor, indoor machine, which suspended the work of the printing house, they searched the place in a subversive way and left around 03:30”.

He also added” this is the third time IOF confiscate equipment from the printing house since two years, and never restored the confiscated materials although we sued them”.


(18/10)- the Palestinian preventive Security service in Qalqilia city (north of West Bank) summoned the correspondent of Anatolia news agency in Ramallah Qais Omar – Abu Samra (36years) (live in Qalqilia) as he reported to MADA”I received a written summon by the preventive security service demanding me to present myself to their office in Qalqilia, but I did not comply following an agreement between the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate with the general prosecution and this is where it ended”.


(19/10)- Bar Association guard in Gaza attacked the distributer of Al-mojtama newspaper Shadi Swerki (33years) allegedly that the newspaper spread false news, as the editor in chief of the newspaper Mufeed Ahmad Abu Shamalleh (46 years) reported to MADA “ the newspaper distributer  Shadi Swerki on 19/10 was exposed to an attack by the bar association guard in Gaza while distributing free newspaper, as the guard demanded him to take the newspaper and leave, Swerki replied that he is doing his job otherwise he will be subjected to questioning and accountability, the guard responded that this newspaper distribute false news, he throw it on the ground, and hold a chair threatening to hit Swerki on the head, when a policeman intervened to stop him”.

He also added” we didn’t receive any previous objection regarding the information we released in our newspaper, noting that in the last four months we released reports related to the recent events that occurred; reports that included affidavits the commission of the bar association requested from the board who refused to submit, although we managed to monitor and record these affidavits and publish them, yet the bar association never complained or objected back then”.


(20/10)-  Internal security service in Gaza summoned the program presenter of Al- Nahar TV Nuha Abu Amro, interrogated her and confiscated her mobile, as she reported to MADA “I was summoned by the internal security service, through a phone call to follow up with them on Thursday’s afternoon (20/10), when I told them that I won’t show up unless they send an official document, they sent an official warrant hence I headed to their headquarters around 17:00 on the same day, they interrogated me regarding recent communications between me and Fatah leaders and Mahmoud Abbas office recently to help me solve my problem to travel out of Gaza, the interrogator said that they are deceitful and I should stay away from them (Fatah and Mahmoud Abbad office), during the interrogation they confiscated my mobile, I left their office at 21:00 but my mobile was still withheld, until next Saturday where I presented myself for another interrogation session, that did not differ in content, except mocking me that I am not a journalist, they returned my mobile, but it seemed that they accessed my Facebook account and my personal conversations, and I left”.


(22/10)- the Palestinian Intelligence service arrested the cameraman of Al quds Educational Channel in Jenin, Mahmoud Mattar Milhem (27years) for five days, when he went to receive a” non- criminal certificate” from ministry of interior, as he reported to MADA “ on 22/10 I headed to the ministry of interior to receive a non- criminal certificate, when they informed me that I have a set up meeting with the intelligence service, on the same day I went to the intelligence headquarters and was detained for five days, they informed me that I am detained under the jurisdiction of the governor for 15 days”.

He also added ”I was interrogated for three sessions each day, and the last two days they interrogated me regarding the nature of my job as a journalist, and then I was released on Wednesday 26/10 around 19:00, after the intervention of Palestinian journalist syndicate and other human rights bodies”.


He added” I received a good treatment except that I was banned from calling my family, as the intelligence officer informed me that they already contacted my family that I was arrested which did not happen”.


 (30/10)- IOF banned Wissam Abdelhafith Hashlamoun (21years) photographer of “AP” agency and his father abdulhafith Al Hashlamoun the photographer of European Agency on 30/10 of covering events that took place in Beit Ommar village (north of Hebron) as Wisam Hashlamoun reported to MADA” my father Abdulhafith Hashlamoun and I headed to cover incidents erupted in Beit Ommar as IOF claimed a youth tried to ran (by his car) over three soldiers, when we tried to enter the village they banned, searched us and withheld our IDs and detained us for ten minutes and then we were released”.