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"MADA" condemns raid of "WAFA" and arresting 3 journalists

Ramallah – (11 Dec. 2018) – the Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms “MADA” condemns raid of the Palestinian News Agency “WAFA” headquarters in Ramallah, on Monday, corresponding 10th Dec. 2018, by the Israeli occupation forces, which took place in parallel with attacking the staff and firing gas bombs on the balcony of editing hall, and firing a sound bomb inside the hall, and the arrest of three journalists from Tulkarm, Ramallah and Jerusalem, which occurred at dawn of the preceding day. 

 

In a flagrant attack against media freedoms in Palestine, an occupation army force has raided the main headquarters of WAFA Agency in Ramallah, while penetrating several places in Ramallah. The occupation force has also detained some female and male staff members at WAFA and prevented them from leaving their offices for an hour and a half. It also checked their cards, and attacked the photographers of the Agency, Maan Yaseen and Shorouq Zaid, by pushing and cursing them while they were documenting the raid .

 

The soldiers threatened the staff to break the door of the computers rook, where the DVR of the recordings exists, which forced the staff to open the room, where the soldiers intended to observe the events surrounding the premises of the headquarters through these camera recordings. They also seized the video recordings covering the period of Sunday evening until Tuesday evening.

 

The occupation forces have fired tear gas bombs on Editing Hall of WAFA Agency, which caused suffocation of 12 staff members. They also fired a sound bomb inside the Hall after breaking into the headquarters.

 

In sepaate violation, The Israeli occupation forces arrested 3 journalists, Sameh Mahmoud Manasra from Izbit Al-Jarrad, Tulkarem, Hussein Shajaya from Deir Jreir, Ramallah, and Samer Abu Aisha, from Jerusalem after their houses were raided. Abu Aisha was released yesterday evening.

 

The father of the journalist, Manasra, stated to MADA that a force of the Israeli occupation army raided the residential building, where his children and family live, at 2:30 AM on Tuesday. They arrested Sameh (married with two children) and seized three cell phone for him and his wife. Yesterday evening the family learned that he was transferred to the Petah Tikva investigation center.

 

Ramez Shajaya, the brother of journalist Hussein Shajaya, stated that an Israeli army force raided the house of his brother, Hussein, in Deir Jarir, at around 4:00AM on Monday, corresponding 10 Dec. 2018. They detained the family members in one room. They arrested Hussein from his room and seized two cell phones he owns.

The journalist Hussein Shajaya posted on Facebook, two hours before his arrest that "a drone may descend on the house’s roof given its movement" referring to the large movements and searches carried out by the Israeli army after shooting Israeli soldiers and settlers that night near Ramallah.

 

MADA expressly condemns these escalating and serious attacks against media freedoms in Palestine. As in the preceding month it has documented 47 Israeli attacks against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, most of which fall under the serious and grave attacks. The Center believes that the continuation of impunity of the perpetrators constitutes an incentive for the occupation authorities and forces to continue and escalate their flagrant attacks. MADA renews its call to the various international bodies to make a move by prosecuting these perpetrators and bring them to justice.