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Most notably the blocking of 29 News sites


MADA: 51 violations of media freedoms in Palestine during June 2017


RAMALLAH –The month of June -2017, witness an increase in the number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine compared with the month of May. Most noteworthy in a rare case, the number of Palestinian violations exceeded that of the Israeli ones. Israeli violations constitute 65-70% of the total violations of media freedoms in Palestine in terms of their total incidence.

During the month of June, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored a total of 51 violations against media freedoms (compared to 41 in May), of which 41 were committed by Palestinian sides in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and only 10 by the Israeli occupation.


Palestinian violations:

The number of Palestinian violations against media freedoms in June has increased significantly compared with the previous months, with 41 violations, most of them in the West Bank (34 violations), and a total of 7 violations in the Gaza Strip.

The significant increase in the number of Palestinian violations against media freedoms was the result of a large-scale blocking campaign aimed at news websites close or affiliated with Hamas and the ex-Fatah leader, Mohammed Dahlan, executed by the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority and the Attorney General maintained secrecy and did not disclose the details of this blocking and its motives and did not disclose even the number of sites that have been affected by the ban. The blocked sites have not received any official written or oral communication in this regard. They were surprised by the blocking procedures that were carried out in succession over several days. Their only source of information was through Internet service providers disclosing that they have received decisions from the Palestinian public prosecutor to block them.

MADA Center was able to compile a list of 29 sites that were blocked (26 of which are still blocked as of today- more than two weeks after the start of the blocking operation in mid-June). This list was prepared following receiving direct statements from employees and staff at some of these sites, while the other part was based on a constant online check by MADA due to the inability to reach the administrations of these sites.

In this regard, It is important to note two issues: the blocking was limited to the West Bank (The sites are accessible from other places, other than the West Bank), and some blocked sites –using various technologies- succeeded to operate again although the block.

Amongst the most prominent Palestinian violations, this month was the arrest of the journalist in I’lamuna center, Thahir Issa al-Shamali by the Preventive Security Service in Ramallah, and the arrest of Palestine TV reporter, Fuad Kamal Jaradah, by the Palestinian Internal Security Service in Gaza. Also the arrest of the journalist in Al-Ayyam newspaper, Hasan Jaber, as well as the detention of Palestine TV crew (5 journalists) and prevented them from filming social activity in Gaza.


Israeli violations:

The number of Israeli violations against media freedoms in Palestine witnessed  a significant decrease compared to the previous months, with only 10 Israeli violations recorded. The most prominent of these was the exposure of Al-Jazeera's Qatari office in Jerusalem to official and popular pressures and threats under the pretext of "incitement”, the renewal of the administrative detention for Al-Dameer’s media officer, Hassan Ghassan Safadi, for 6 months for the third time in a row, injuring Al-Quds TV reporter Layali Ziad Eid by a shrapnel from a bomb fired by Israeli soldiers while preparing a report in the town of Al-Isawiya near Jerusalem. Targeting of Al-Aqsa TV crew in Gaza - Bureij camp by the Israeli forces with bullets as one bullet penetrated the car while the team was covering a protest at the eastern border of the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza Strip, and subjecting the independent producer Darin Naeem Al-Juba, to a shameful and humiliating body search when she went to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to cover the visit of the Commissioner of Justice and Gender Equality in the European Union although her name was already included in the lists of journalists covering the event.


Details of June violations

(4/6) Layali Ziad Eid, the correspondent of Al-Quds educational satellite, suffered from injuries caused to her by shrapnel from a bomb fired by Israeli soldiers near her, while she was preparing a report in the town of Issawiya town near Jerusalem. Eid said: “I went on the evening of 4/6 (shortly before the prayer of Maghrib) to the town of Issawiya to report on the atmosphere of Ramadan and prepare for an episode on the families’ of prisoners.

During interviews with the families, near al-Arbaeen mosque in the town, Israeli Occupation Forces stormed the area to arrest someone from his house. They began to provoke the citizens who tried to prevent the army from entering the house.

And while I was documenting what was happening, three soldiers passed by and asked me to leave. They were firing tear gas, live ammunition, and pepper gas at the demonstrators. One of the bombs fell near me, injuring me in the left hand between the wrist and the elbow”.

“I was hospitalized at Al- Maqased Hospital and received pain killers there, then I left a radiograph was taken showing my bruised hand”, added Eid.


(6/6) The office of Qatar's Al-Jazeera TV in Jerusalem has been subjected to public and official Israeli pressures and threats demanding it to close. As a group of extremist Israeli settlers demonstrated in front of the Channel’s office in Jerusalem and demanded to shut it down.

A few days later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Army Minister Avigdor Lieberman participated in putting further pressure and threats.


Netanyahu held a consultative meeting on Monday 19/6 with the participation of senior Israeli security and intelligence services officials in which they discussed shutting down the office of Al- Jazeera TV under the pretext of "incitement"[1].

"The incitement against Al-Jazeera started along with the crisis in the Arabian Gulf," said Waleed Al-Omari, 60 years old, the director of Al Jazeera's offices in Palestine and Israel.

“A number of Hebron’s extremist settlers arrived at our office in West Jerusalem and demonstrated in front of the office and left signs saying "This is an order to close the ISIS - Al-Jazeera TV channel in Jerusalem." As Saudi Arabia closed the channel, Israel must close it (without entering the office).


"The same incident was repeated twice (within an hour) and by the same group, calling for the closure of the office, the police and the Israeli security moved them away," Added Al Omari.

"A week later, on June 13, a meeting between the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all the ministers in order to discuss the possibility of shutting Al-Jazeera’s office down was leaked. The most dangerous was the publication of the incitement issued by Israeli sources about the desire to shut down the channel based on provoking from various political and non-political Israeli parties, where the accusations were directed to Al-Jazeera as a supporter of terrorism”.


 (7/6) The Palestinian Intelligence Service in Hebron summoned the correspondent of Shehab News Agency and Orouba Network, Amer Abdul Hakim Abu Arafa, 33 years old. He said: "I received a notification from the Hebron Intelligence Service to go see them on Sunday 11/6 at eleven for interrogation. Following contact from the Journalists syndicate to the intelligence service, it turned out that the reason behind the summon was my Facebook posts and a news page on Facebook with the name of Al-Khaleel News, who they thought I was its editor, but after the intervention of the member of the journalists syndicate Mohammed Al- Lahham, they delayed the date until after Eid Al- Fitir without setting a specific date. "


(8/6) the correspondent of Palestine TV, Fuad Kamal Jaradah (33 years), was arrested from his home by the Internal Security Service in Gaza. His wife, Hiba Fayeq told MADA: "Fuad was arrested from our house in Tel al-Hawa at about 7:00 pm on June 8. Members of the Internal Security Service asked him to bring his laptop and mobile with his computer chip, and asked him to accompany them for a short period of time to question him and he was arrested.

"Fuad is currently in the headquarters of the Internal Security Service (Al-Hakim Palace) and we have no information about the reasons he was arrested for" she added.

Note: Jarada is still detained until the time of this report (5/6). His family did not know any details or the reason or circumstances of his arrest.


(8/6) Al-Dameer’s media officer, Hassan Ghassan Safadi (24 years) 6 months administrative detention sentence was renewed for the third time in a raw. His sister Ghadeer said: "On Thursday 8/6, and for the third time, Hassan’s administrative detention was renewed for 6 months ".

"Hassan was informed of the renewal decision of his administrative detention through the lawyer, knowing that he is currently detained in the Negev desert prison, a court was held on Sunday 11/6 in which the sentence was confirmed for 6 months as a fundamental judgment (that cannot be renewed again), added Ghadeer.


(8/6) The Palestinian Preventive Security Service detained the journalist Dahir Issa Al-Shamali (29 years) for 16 days on charges of “insulting state officials and stirring sectarian strife in connection with an article he wrote”. According to Shamali: “on 3/6 I wrote an article in response to the statements made by the secretary of the Central Committee of the Fatah movement, Jibril Rajoub, about Al Buraq Wall in Al-Rai newspaper. Two days later a friend of mine working at the Preventive Security Service contacted me and told me that I was sent a notification to my house in Hebron asking me to come to the office”.

"The next day June 6, the same person called me (who is my friend) and took me to the agency's headquarters. I was held in the cell for 13 days (only three days in which I was held in the rooms), and I was interrogated for “insulting the head of state and stirring sectarian strife and belonging to an anarchist party (two sessions each day). I was interrogated by more than one investigator, some of them treated me well, others treated badly, I was insulted and humiliated and the course of the investigation was about my media work and what I get paid for every article I write”.


"On Sunday 11 June, I was brought before the court, where I was accoppined by four lawyers, the session was adjourned for a second one on June 20, and then I was released after 16 days of detention on unpaid bail payable in case of violation of the terms of release which was: to refrain from writing such articles and to commit to attend the next session of the Court on 16/9/2017. They tried to get me to sign a commitment to abide by the condition but I did not sign it” added Shamali.


 (12/6) The Palestinian Authority has blocked a number of news websites through a series of resolutions issued by the Palestinian Attorney General to the Internet companies hosting these media sites, without officially announcing these decisions, which were implemented in practice under a state of official secrecy. The sites that have been officially blocked were not notified. The Attorney General has also refused to make any press statement on the procedure[2].

This state of secrecy made it even more difficult to determine the number of sites that have been affected by the block. Many of them have overcome the blocking process in different technical ways after different periods. Some of these sites are provided by the Internet from more than one company which made the blocking process not very comprehensive.

MADA Center was able to compile a list of 29 countries that had been blocked, some of which succeeded in different ways of overcoming the block (see list annexed at the end of this report).

"We were surprised at Amad media center at 5 pm the evening of (12/6) that the site has been blocked, our concerns were confirmed after contacting companies that provide us with the internet service, such as Mada and Hadara. Following the inquiry, we found out that the block order was issued by the Attorney General in the West Bank, and that the ban order is limited to the West Bank”, stated Hasan Asfour (62 years old), general supervisor for the media site.

"This decision came without prior warning and without any clear reasons. We issued a statement demanding that the Attorney General retract the decision against a licensed site by the Ministry of Information and serving public opinion," Asfour said.

The director of the Palestinian Information Center Rizq Mohammed Gharabli (33 years) said in a statement to MADA "The Palestinian Center website was blocked, and it was one of the first sites that have been blocked (on 15/6), after we failed to open the website through browsers, the press start talking about the blocking of many websites and mentioned the names of 11 websites.

Iyad Abdul Rahman al-Rifai, (24 years), the editor of AL-Quds News Network, said to MADA “On Thursday (June 15) evening, we knew that AL-Qods website was blocked as part of an operation included several websites before us."

"We have not been officially informed and we have not received any letters or e-mail," he said. "After communicating with Internet providers, they told us that they had received a letter from the public prosecutor that included the names of a group of news websites asking them to ban it."

He also pointed that: "The companies that provide us with the Internet refused to inform us of the prohibition order they received, and we tried to communicate with the Attorney General for clarification but refused to respond, and within the next two days we will examine the possibility of recourse to the law."


Ahmad Al-Betawi, (35 years), an editor at Quds Press, said: "The Quds Press Agency was blocked in the first list, after attempting to access the website; we found that it was banned from some Internet providers, but in the next day the website was blocked from all the Internet companies, and we did not know the reasons for this decision, and whether the decision is just a blocking of the website or it’s a ban on all our work."

Al-Betawi said in another statement: "We are still consulting recourse to the law about of recourse to the judiciary because our licenses are issued from Britain, also we have contacted Mr. Azzam al-Ahmad (a Fateh central comity member), and he promised to resolve this issue after the Eid holiday”.

Mo’ath Sulaiman al-Amour, (28 years), an employee in the production department of the Shehab news agency, said to MADA: “yesterday, (15/6), the website of the Shahab agency was suddenly blocked without any prior legal action against the agency. We were banned without warning, even though we did not violate the Palestinian laws, which we are literally committed to them. The agency is publishing  letters from the Authority and from Fateh members, as well as direct statements from officials in previous times.”

He added: “Internet providers reported that the Shahab agency is banned inside the West Bank. Also, we were not the only ones who were blocked, as 10 other news websites were blocked. Some of the agency's employees tried to communicate with the Attorney General as soon as we knew about the blocking order, but he closed his phone immediately after being asked about the reasons for this decision.

He also said: “it was supposed to be addressed to our correspondent in the West Bank (Amer Abu Arafa) if the Agency did any legal transgression of any kind before the blocking decision was made.”

The editor chief of SAFA news agency Yaser AbuHein (39 years) reported to MADA “ on Friday 16/06 we were informed about the surprise blocking of the agency site, and this came after we received complaints from correspondents and followers in the West Bank specifically about the presence of Problems in opening and browsing the site”.

He added “After we contacted the internet provider company, we were informed that the site of SAFA is one amongst other sites that the Attorney General ordered to block, and we found that the users of the site through the Israeli Internet companies did not face any problem”.

He also said “we demand Palestinian authorized parties to back off such decisions; otherwise we will resort to the law and judiciary to solve this issue”.

The general director of Palestine journal and the chief editor of Palestine online the journalist Iyad Ibrahim Al-Qara (40 years) reported to MADA “on Thursday (15 /06/2017) at 12 noon, we learned of the blockade of 11 electronic news websites by the Palestinian Attorney General, about half an hour later, we discovered that the newspaper's website was one of them. We received a lot of observations about the problems of accessing the site and it was blocked, which coincided with media activists in the West Bank publishing a list of blocked websites, including Palestine Online”.

Saed Saeed Radwan (33 years) who is an administrative chief at Al-Aqsa Channel reported to MADA”"We have tried to bypass the site through technical means, but we have not succeeded, hence, the website is still blocked”.


(16/06) Israeli Police banned the reporter of Palestine Today TV  Lawa’ Abu Rumeileh (26 years) and three of her colleagues from covering an incident in Jerusalem, after assaulting Al-Quds newspaper editor Mohammed Abed Rabbo. Abu Rumeileh reported to MADA “At around 10 pm on June 16, while I and the photographer of Trans Media Mohammed Sharif, and a photographer in Palestine TV Amir Abed Rabbo at the Damascus gate  were presented there to cover the repercussions of the martyrdom of three Palestinians in the old city of Jerusalem, while I was interviewing with Al-Quds newspaper reporter Muhammad 'Abd Rabbo on the sidewalk about what he was exposed to of violations and prevention of coverage (where he was pushed and beaten while covering), we were attacked by Israeli police and pushed us with his rifle, prevented us from coverage and complete the interview”.


(16/6) Israeli occupation forces, targeted with live bullets, Al Aqsa TV crew during their coverage of a protest against the siege of the Gaza Strip; the bullet penetrated the broadcasting vehicle while the team were inside. Al-Aqsa TV reporter Shadi Awni Asfour (40 years), reported to MADA, “between 5:30 and 6:00pm of June 16, I and my colleagues at Al-Aqsa TV including (video cameraman Mohammed Ahmed and broadcast engineer Husni Fremli) headed to cover an organized event by the youth movement at the eastern border of the Bureij refugee camp to protest the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip”.

He added “the crew of Al-Aqsa TV, were at a safe distance from the demonstraters. We were wearing the full press uniform (press vests). We were surprised by the firing of live bullets targeting us by the Israeli soldiers, as a bullet penetrated the car from one side to another, it was a clear cut evidence of targeting us, especially that the area was in those moments devoid of protesters”.


(18/6) The Internal Security Service in Gaza Strip arrested "Al-Ayyam" newspaper reporter Hassan Mohammed Jabr (53 years) and interrogated him about a report he conducted about Salafist groups in Gaza. “As he reported to MADA” On Sunday 18/6, I was detained by the internal security service from 10:00 am till 10: pm, on the following day (June 19), I was repeatedly detained from 10am to 1pm. This was after I received an official call on 11/6 demanding me to present myself to the Internal Security headquarters for interrogation, but I requested to postpone the date because I was busy working with foreign delegations”.

"After I arrived at the headquarters according to the agreed date (on Sunday, June 18), my mobile phone was confiscated and I was interrogated about the subject of a report I conducted about the Salafist groups and that it had nothing to do with the murderer of the former prisoner, Mazen Fuqaha. I was asked about a $ 1,000 money transfer from a donor from Denmark for a cancer campaign noting that I had related documents with me by that time. After the interrogation, I was transferred to a small cell for a while before returning me to the interrogation room again to answer the same questions. Then I was transferred to the waiting room until 10:00pm, afterwards, the investigator came and told me he would release me under a condition to present myself once again the next day”.

Jabr also reported to MADA "When I returned the next day (June 19), they kept me sitting in the waiting room from 10 am till 12:45 pm, when one of the security officers came back and handed me back my sim card, and informed me that I can return my phone after ten days, I left the place around 13:00pm”.


(19/6) The General Investigation Police Department in Gaza detained five Palestinian TV employees during their filming in Gaza a televised episode, and prevented them from covering it, claiming they did not obtain a permit to film. Noting that, other press crews also were there and were covering the same event. Mohamad Abdel Rahman Al-Borai (45 years) reported to MADA “Palestine TV crew (Samir Saksak, the program's creator, and the cameramen Mohammed Al-Orabid, and Mohammad Al-Borai, director Maher Al-Afifi, and anchorwoman Sali Al-Sakany) to film an episode of " a young man in the street carries out an initiative for needy citizens and there were many media outlets, and television crews that came to cover this initiative”.

He added "while we were covering the head of the general investigation Manar Al Hadad, passed by and asked us what are we covering, and if we obtained a permit for coverage? We replied that no permit is needed to shoot events in the streets, after presenting himself he told us to continue covering the events and left, but soon a vehicle of the general investigation arrived and detained all the journalists until they distinguished the members of Palestine TV crew. They told us to accompany them to Al-Abbas Department because we do not have a permit tofilm , we followed them with the TV car”.

He added "We were detained for three hours until they received orders from the Interior Ministry to release us. They asked us to sign a pledge not to film without prior permission, but we refused to sign because we are not working only with Palestine TV, yet we work in other media outlets. he informed the administration of the TV, The director of Palestine TV, Samir Al-Agha, the director of public relations, Mouin Al-Hilu, and the program director Saleh Al-Shafa'i, presented, were Al-Shafa’I signed the pledge on behalf of the TV administration. It was clear that they only targeted Palestine TV, as the other media teams stayed in the field and covered the event, although they did not get permits”.


 (22/6) The Palestinian Preventive Security Service in Ramallah summoned the photographer of Raya FM, Shadi Hatem Karakra (24years) , and director of production at the same radio, Salam Al-Atrash, (39years)  and interrogated them about the campaign organized by activists recently against blocking a number of websites”.

As Krakra reported to MADA “On 22/6, I and my colleague Salam al-Atrash were informally summoned to the headquarters of the Preventive Security Service in the city of Ramallah (summoned through our director of Bassam al-Walwil, member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council)”.

He added, "It was a friendly meeting between us and the security service,  for a period of not more than an hour on the subject of our participation in the campaign / no blockade / which was launched on Facebook, and finally we signed a pledge to prevent posts related to abusing the  government or the security services on Facebook" .

Salam al-Atrash (39years) the director of production at Raya FM Radio also reported to MADA "I was not summoned in a formal manner. The session in the Preventive Security Service lasted only about half an hour, and was interrupted in a cordial manner, during which I asked about my position on blocking the new websites and I replied that any decision in favor of the country I am with it, otherwise I am against it, then we discussed the reality of freedom of expression and opinion, finally I signed a pledge not to offend the security services and government institutions”.


 (22/6) The Palestinian Preventive Security Service in Ramallah summoned Fadi Ihsan al-Arouri, (34years) photographer at the official Xinhua news agency, and interrogated him about the blocking operation of a number of news websites. Al- Arouri reported to MADA"I received a telephone call from The Preventive Security Service on Wednesday, June 21, asks me in an informal way to visit the headquarters at the time that suits me. When I asked for a formal summons if the subject is related to media and my work,  it was confirmed that it is a chat away from the media”.

He added, "The next day I went to the headquarters of the Preventive Security Service in Ramallah at about 13:00pm, where they focused about the sites that were blocked by a decision of the Attorney General in the last period. They discussed with me one post on my page on Facebook as they considered it includes / incitement /, the session lasted only half an hour, and I didn’t signe any papers, and all they asked me is / to be rational in my writings, and keep away from the recruitment of people / I thing that I do not belong to, hence, I do not consider what happened a summon nor a violation of my right”.


(22/06) Israeli occupation forces detained the correspondent of Media Port Jihan Hassan Awad (33 years) while crossing the Qalandia checkpoint( north of Jerusalem) during her return from Jerusalem and interrogated her where she reported to MADA "We went on 21 June to Jerusalem to celebrate the “Night of Qadr”, as Israeli authorities permitted access to East Jerusalem for all people and during our return the next day (22/6) from Jerusalem to Ramallah through Qalandia checkpoint, Israeli soldiers stopped the bus to check our IDs. They picked four people, including me, and took us out of the bus. They released the three others and arrested and detained me then deported me to Atarot, were I was interrogated by an officer called Fadi, when I informed him that I am a journalists, he confirmed that he knew this information, but he asked where I work and tried to learn more about the body I work in favor of,   but I replied that Media Port is a production company working for the benefit of many channels and stations”.

She added "The interrogator asked me how I entered Jerusalem. I told him that I had entered through the Qalandia checkpoint and not in another way where the Israeli authorities allowed women to enter Jerusalem to pray on Lailat al-Qadr. During the interrogation I heard the voices of people being tortured, yet I believe these are fake voices aim to threat those under interrogation, after the completion of the interrogation, I signed a paper stating that I was not subjected to any violation and nothing had been confiscated from me. I was returned to Qalandia checkpoint and threatened to be imprisoned if I entered Israel without a permit”.


(27/06)- Israeli security subjected the independent producer, Daren Naim al-Ju’ba (35 years), to a humiliating physical examination when she headed to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to cover the visit of the Commissioner of Justice and Gender Equality of the European Union, which hindered her from covering the event, as she reported to MADA, "me and two other Israeli colleagues of mine, (a photographer and a sound engineer / working at JCS), were covering the visit of the EU Commissioner for Justice and Equality, Mrs. Vera Yorova to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. They demanded us to pass through a security examination, although my name was in the list of journalists covering the event since a week. When a security officer asked me if my name was on the list, I answered him yes and pointed to my name on the list. He asked me to go outside and undergo a physical inspection where a female security officer, who examined all my body using her hands in a very critical way, But when she asked me to take down my pants, which I refused and informed them that I will leave the place immediately a thing they refused and kept on searching my bag for at least 20 minutes”.

She added "After finishing my inspection, I went out to find my colleagues still waiting outside, they disrupted our mission. After I informed our director, she contacted the  IFJ-based organization to facilitate our mission but without any benefit. I left the place, but after that the security official in the ministry came to me accompanied by a diplomat from the ministry and after he presented himself he asked me to return the inspection, and even my director asked me to abide,  which made me comply with the inspection again, and when they asked me to take off part of my clothes also I strongly refused and asked immediately to leave, It was kind of a humiliation to me as a Jerusalemite journalist, noting that, my other Israeli colleagues were not examined in the same way”.

She finally added "The institution we work at with has been working with all responsible parties on what happened and they set a date Wednesday 07/05 to discuss what happened”.


Annex 1 (List of blocked sites)




Date of Blockade



Al-Quds news agency




Quds Press Agency




SAFA Press Agency




Al-Ra'e News




Palestine Now




Palestine Press Agency




Ahwal Al-Bilad








Al-Karameh Press




Al-Aqsa TV




Firas Press




Amad Press




Fatah Media




Palestine Journal




Shihab Agency




AMAMA- Nabd Al Defah




Al-Qassam Brigades site



18 -

Fatah News voice




Palestinian Center for information




Ikhwan Online




Hamas website




Jamahiri action




Shafa net




FATAH Commission




Palestine Debate Forum




Palestine Net




In Light Press




Ajnad News




Al resalah newspaper





[1] See “Netanyahu looks at closing down of Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem” on the link

[2] The only statement issued by the government came from its spokesman Tariq Rishmawi to Ajyal radio station about a week after the ban, saying that the Attorney General's decision to ban a number of Palestinian news websites "based on legal texts" and that some of the banned sites (more than 20 sites) "According to the government spokesman, were a source of sedition and does not envisage credibility and professionalism in presenting of news related to the Palestinian issue."

- To hear the statements of the government spokesman in this regard, see the link