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“MADA”: Massive and Grave Violations against Media Freedoms in Palestine during May

Ramallah, (9 June, 2019) – May, 2019 has witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine compared to April. The number of violations monitored by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms "MADA" amounted to 84 violations, compared to a total of 19 violations monitored during April.

 

This rise in the number of violations witnessed in May refers to the widespread closures carried out by Facebook, which included the closure of accounts and pages of 65 Palestinian journalists and authors, not to mention that this was associated with a rise in the number of Israeli violations.

 

On Thursday and Friday (23 and 24 May, 2011), Facebook carried out widespread closures targeting at least 77 pages, including 65 pages for 65 journalists and authors, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The owners of such pages, followed by thousands of Facebook users, were surprised that their accounts have been disabled, and removed from Facebook without any clarifications or prior warning by the management of Facebook.

 

According to the investigations of MADA field researchers, all of those whom pages have been closed have received the same notification on Facebook “Hello, Thank you for your response, we will ask you to reply with a photo of yourself with one of your personal identification items” to the link. After they sent their IDs, they received the response “An unknown error has occurred”.

 

The Israeli Violations:

The Israeli violations have registered a limited rise during May, totaling to 17 attacks compared to 12 attacks against media freedoms monitored during April. However, the risk is that these attacks fall under the most serious and grave attacks against media freedoms and journalists in Palestine, especially the targeting and destruction of the headquarters of Anatolia Agency office in Gaza, in which 11 journalists work, by the air force, in addition to targeting Abdullah Al - Hourani for Studies and Documentation, which is one of the most important cultural centers operating in the Palestinian Territories. This is in addition to targeting and injuring a number of journalists by live and metal bullets while they were covering the events in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

 

Among the most prominent Israeli violations monitored during May: the arrest of the freelance photojournalist Ahmad Sameer Al-Bath, and the journalist Abdelhafeeth Al-Hashlamoun, and detaining them for about nine hours, the injury of Ahmad Salah Al-Najjar by a rubber bullet in the back and the injury of Ikhlas Turkish Agency photographer in Hebron, Sari Jaradat, by a gunshot in his right leg, the injury of Palestine TVcameraman, Mohammad Mahmoud Inaya (by a rubber-coated metal bullet in his leg), the injury of the photographer Abdelraheem Mohammad Al-Khateeb (by a rubber bullet in his leg), the injury of Ramzi Hatem Al-Shakhreet (by a gas bomb fired directly at his leg), the injury of Palestine News Agency photographer, Atta Issam Hadayed (by a rubber bullet in his shoulder causing him fractures in two fingers), preventing seven journalists by the occupation forces from covering the deportations carried out by the Israeli Army to the farmers in the Northern Valleys and detaining them (the seven journalists) for about seven hours and a half before releasing them but seizing two of their vehicles.

 

Palestinian Violations:

The Palestinian violations continued to fall during May and decreased from eight violations to one only committed in Gaza Strip, which is targeting Al-Hayat Al-Jadida Newspaper by “the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Information” in Gaza Strip to prevent its publication and distribution in the Strip for allegedly publishing  “inciting materials which provoke violence, hate, and sedition as well as assaulting public and private property which leads to harming peace and security and stirring sectarian strife against the people of a single nation” as stated in a complaint filed by the Ministries of Interior and Information to Gaza Court of Magistrate in this regard.

                                

Details of Violations:

(3rd May) The occupation forces has arrested the photojournalist, Ahmad Sameer Al-Bath, and his colleague Abdelhafeeth Al-Hashlamoun, and detaining them for about ten hours while they were covering the events of rehabilitating the roads southern Hebron.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, at around 8:00AM, on Friday, corresponding 3rd May 2019, Ahmad Sameer Sameer Wasfi Al-Bath, holding ID Card No. (411559594), resident of Nablus, born on 31st Jan. 1993, a freelance photographer, arrived the area of "southern Hebron hills" in order to cover the rehabilitation of the roads leading to the ruins in that area, called for by Palestinian and foreign activists and citizens as well as local councils for which Al-Bath works as a freelance photographer. Al-Bath, a member of the Activestills, a group of photographers, went there to cover the events for Mondoweiss Website. There were about 150 persons in the pink uniform. At approximately 9:00AM, approximately one hour after they began working in the land, several military vehicles of the Israeli occupation army arrived and declared the area as a closed military zone to prevent them from being there, and then began arresting a group of Palestinian and foreign activists, including the photojournalists, Ahmad Al-Bath, and Abdelhafeeth Al-Hashlamoun, even though Al-Bath has addressed the soldier, in Arabic and English, that he is a journalist and he hold a valid press card. The number of detainees reached 17 activists, only 10 of whom were handcuffed, and they all were transferred in the detention bus from the place of event to Kiryat Arba Police Center. They were detained for about 9 hours which included waiting, photographing, collecting fingerprints, and meeting with lawyers, and then questioning them individually for about 10-15 minutes of each detainee. They were questioned about the reason they were there and the events they were involved in. The main charge against them was "being in a closed military zone". When they completed the questioning, Ahmad Al-Bath signed a 15-day pledge not to be in "Mitzpe Yair", and to pay an amount of 2000 NIS in the event of disobeying the order. His statements were also presented to him but he refused to sign the same as it was written in Hebrew which he cannot read. All of the detainees were released at around 6:00PM.

 

(3rd May) The journalist Sari Jaradat, (30 years old), was injured by a gunshot in his right leg, fired at him by one of the occupation soldiers while he was covering a peaceful march in Beit Sira, western Ramallah.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, Sari Shareef Abdelghaffar Jaradat (33 years old), from Sa'ir, northern Hebron, a photographer of Ikhlas Turkish Agency, went at 1:00PM, on Friday 3rd May 2019, to Beit Sira, western Ramallah, to cover a peaceful march demanding the recovery of Palestinian martyrs corpses detained by the Israeli occupation. Upon completing Friday prayers, at 1:30PM, the citizens moved in the march towards the annexation wall established by Israel, western Beit Sira, only 300 meters away from the mosque. Sari along with another group of journalists were near the demonstrators while a group of the occupation soldiers were deployed in the form of foot patrols in the lands adjacent to the wall, while the military vehicles stopped at a distance behind the wall. Sari and the other journalists tried to go to the soldiers’ location, but the soldiers refused to do so at gunpoint. They asked them to move away and fired a barrage of sound and gas bombs randomly and heavily towards the demonstrators. Many of them were suffocated. The demonstrators started throwing stones at the soldiers who fired back at them gunshots, and rubber-coated bullets. After about 40 minutes of clashes, where the soldiers were hiding among the olive trees at a distance of 150 meters away from the journalists who were wearing the press vests distinguishing them from the demonstrators, carrying their cameras. At around 2:10PM, the journalist Sari Jaradat was injured by a gunshot in his right leg (from the front side). Sari grabbed his colleague, the photographer of Anatolia agency, Hisham Abu Shaqra, who was standing near him. He started shouting and calling “ambulance, ambulance”. One of the paramedics arrived with a group of young men and transferred Jaradat who was bleeding from his leg to a private vehicle that transported him to Ramallah Governmental Hospital while the paramedic was trying to stop the bleeding throughout the road. Jaradat was admitted to the ER at around 2:40PM, but he was unable to walk due to severe pain. The doctors took him on a wheelchair to the hospital. He made some tests and radiology and they showed the presence of fragments around the leg bone. The wound was stitched, and the bleeding stopped after it was cleaned from the fragments of the gunshots. At approximately 4:30PM, he left the hospital to his house.

 

(4th May) The occupation warplanes targeted Quteifan building in Gaza with five rockets, at least, in addition to Anatolia Agency in Gaza, which resulted in its complete destruction.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, the director of Anatolia Agency in Gaza, Yasser Arafat Mohammad Al-Banna, (42 years old), received a phone call at around 7:30PM, on Saturday (4th May 2019), from one of the neighbors, at Quteifan building asking him to inform two of his colleagues at Anatolia Agency who were in the building to immediately leave as he received a phone call from the occupation army to evacuate the building in preparation for bombardment. Five minutes later, at about 7:35PM, Yasser Al-Banna contacted the photographer, Ali Jadallah, who was in Anatolia Agency office with his colleague Mohammad Dahlan, and asked them to vacate the place before the occupation army would target it.Consequently, the headquarters of Anatolia Agency was evacuated from the staff, and they left the building carrying a laptop and some cameras only. Around 8:00PM, the Israeli occupation planes completely targeted the building and bombed it with four rockets until it was destroyed. According to the director of Anatolia office in Gaza, Yasser Al-Banna, the agency's losses were estimated at $ 20,000, at least. As the office contained all of the press equipment, including three cameras, three tripods, three press vests, five gas masks, five camera batteries, memories and lenses of cameras (five), office furniture, and full kitchenware. The Office started operating in Gaza Strip in 2012, with 11 journalists working in 3 sections: news, pictures and videos. The office space is 140 square meters in size, and it is located in the first floor of the building.

At the same time, the warplanes destroyed Abdullah Al-Hourani Center for Studies and Documentation of the Palestinian Labor and Education Administration in the Palestine Liberation Organization, after targeting Al-Khazandar building which includes the center, with at least five missiles. According to the director general of Abdullah Al-Hourani Nahed Zaqout to MADA “the occupation aircrafts bombed Al-Khazandar building with three missiles, including Abdullah Al-Hourani Center, at about 10:00PM, on Saturday 4th May 2019 and few minutes later, it was targeted by two missiles, leading to the complete destruction of the building. It includes three apartments for the Center in the first and second floors, in addition to a huge hall at the building entrance, including 120 seats and ten big tables allocated for seminars, activities and meetings. The center organizes around 10-15 activities, in addition to hosting several activities from outside the center. The first floor includes two apartments; the area of each is about 120 meters, one of the apartments includes offices for the staff affairs, while the other includes offices and huge library that contains ten thousand books collected over 22 years ever since the center was established in 1997 involving rare Palestinian documents about history and heritage, in addition to the publications of the center estimated to 60, as to the second floor, it is an apartment for the center’s management officers and the studies director, noting that 17 employees work in the center.

 

 (10th May) The photojournalist Mohammad Mahmoud Hassan Inaya, was injured by a metal bullet fired at him by one of the Israeli occupation soldiers while he was covering the weekly march in Kafr Qadoum, Qalqilya.

 According to the investigations conducted by MADA field researcher, the photographer of Palestinian TV Mohammad Mahmoud Hassan Inaya, (27 years old), has arrived to Kafr Qadoum, east of Qalqilya, at 12:30PM, on Friday 10th May 2019, to cover the weekly march regularly organized by the residents since years to demand opening the entrance to the town, which is closed by the Israeli army for the settlers.

After the citizens finished prayer at about 1:00PM, they moved to their usual demonstration as the soldiers attacked the demonstrators and raided the village and stationed in a house about 500 meters away from the closed street. The demonstrators began throwing stones at the soldiers who were stationed about 100 meters away from the demonstration. The soldiers responded by firing tear gas bombs and metal bullets randomly, resulting in the injury of some demonstrators. In the meantime the photographer Mohammad Inaya and three of his colleagues were standing at a corner half way between the soldiers and demonstrators. All of them were in their press vest and helmet taking photos. One of the three soldiers stationed in the roof of a citizen’s house, at around 1:45PM, fired several rubber-coated bullets directly at the journalists. One of the bullets injured the photographer Muhammad Inaya in his right leg. As a result, he fell to the ground, his colleagues and one of the paramedics helped him reach a vehicle where he received the first aid. After about half an hour, he was transferred to the Government Darwish Nazzal Hospital in Qalqilya, where it was found after imaging the injury that there were no fractures and that the bullet caused him bruises only. 

 

(10th May) Two journalists were injured while they were covering the peaceful return march east of Rafah, one of whom was injured by a rubber bullet fired at him by one of the Israeli occupation soldiers while the other was directly injured by a gas bomb.

According to the investigations conducted by MADA field researcher, the journalist Abdelraheem Mohammad Al-Khatib (42 years old), a freelance photographer of the Turkish Anatolia Agency, went at about 2:00PM, on Friday 10th May 2019 to the area of East Rafah, wearing the Press vest and carrying a camera, in addition to the helmet and a muzzle, to cover a peaceful march as part of the marches organized each Friday. At approximately 03:00, the Israeli soldiers stationed on the other side of the fence began firing live bullets as well as gas and smoke bombs at the demonstrators, some of whom were trying to approach the fence, which resulted in the injury of several of them by live ammunition and suffocation. At approximately 04:30, while he was standing in a "relatively safe" area, as he described, approximately 250m away from the separation fence, opposite the red tower of the occupation, to the south of the demonstrators, taking photos, he was shot in the left leg and fell to the ground, and then the paramedics approached and gave him first aid but then he returned and completed his work. But soon he felt pain. He left the place about half an hour later and went to the medical point about 700 meters away from the fence where he was given a syringe and rested in the tent for about half an hour before leaving for his home.

On the same day and place, the photojournalist of Rowad Al-Haqiqa Network, Ramzi Hatem Al-Shakhreet, (35 years old), was also injured while he was covering these events.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, Al-Shakhreet was wearing the press vest and carrying a phone and "Tripod", at about 4:00PM, approached the separation fence towards the demonstrations, and stopped at a distance of 150 meters in a street called “Jakar”. After about half an hour, he moved to the southern side but remained at the same distance from the fence (150 meters). At about 5:30 PM, a gas bomb was directly fired at him by a soldier stationed on the other side of the fence. The paramedics rushed and transferred him to the medical point 700 meters away from the separation fence, and there the swelling, redness of the place of injury was observed and given her some medications and pain killers and after about half an hour left for his home.

 

(12th May) On Sunday evening, the Israeli occupation forces detained seven journalists and human rights activists in the northern Jordan Valleys, northern the West Bank, and prevented them from covering deportations carried out by the army against Palestinian farmers and residents living there.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, the journalists: Shadi Yasser Ahmad Jarara’a, (28 years old), a freelance journalist, Al-Ghad TV reporter, Khaled Salih Mahmoud Budair, (30 years old), An-Najah TV photographer, Hazem Imad Hosni Nasser, (29 years old), and Mahmoud Fawzi Mahmoud Abdul Ghani, (34 years old) freelance journalist, the Turkish Anatolia Agency photographer, Hisham Kamel Khaled Abu Shaqra (30 years), Ajyal Radio Network reporter, Ranin Rateb Sulaiman Sawafta (30 years old), Shatha Abdel Rahman Sharif Hammad (30 years old), a freelance journalist, the human rights activist Faris Fuqaha from the Al-Haq Foundation, have arrived at around 1:30PM, on Sunday (12th May 2019), to Khirbet Hamsa Al-Fawqa, southern valleys area, southeast Tubas, to cover the by the Israeli occupation forces of its inhabitants on the pretext of carrying military activity. As journalists tried to photograph the expulsion of families living in tents, one of the army patrols stopped the two journalists' vehicles, seized their ID cards and vehicle licenses, and forced them to catch them in the vehicles.After a distance of 12 km to the gate of "Mazokh" military camp as the Palestinians call it (Israelis call it Om Zarqa) near Khirbet "Samra" in the northern Valleys, they were asked to unload the personal belongings off the vehicles and they were seized (the vehicles), while the seven journalists and human rights activists were detained there from 3:00PM to 9:00PM. They were prevented from using their mobile phones on the grounds that they were in an army military zone. At 9:00PM, the soldiers returned their personal ID cards and the vehicles’ licenses and they were released but they kept the vehicles belonging to the journalists Hisham Abu Shaqra and Khaled Bader held until noon on Wednesday 15th May 2019. The Israeli Civilian Administration handed over the seized vehicles to "Mazokh" camp, in addition to an oral warning not to enter these areas claiming to be closed military zones.

 

(23rd May) Facebook closed no less than 65 pages and accounts belonging to Palestinian journalists and authors as part of a campaign it has carried out on 23rd – 24th May.

According to the investigations of MADA female and male researchers, the Facebook Administration carried out, on Thursday night and early Friday (23 and 24 May 2019) a widespread campaign of closures targeting at least 77 pages, including pages for 65 journalists and authors in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The remaining pages belong to a group of activists and journalists. Those who were targeted were completely surprised they are removed and disabled by Facebook and at around the same time (between 9:00PM and 9:30PM on Thursday, 22 May 2019), without any clarifications or prior warning by the Facebook administration.

Al-Hadath Newspaper reporter in Gaza, Muthana Al-Najjar, stated to MADA researcher that the Facebook Administration has closed his page followed by “44,000 users, without any warning, indicating that it was about a month ago, another account for him was closed and it was followed by 135,000 users, after a message popped up in the browser account saying "violation of privacy" by the Facebook administration, without being informed of the nature of this violation. As to Al-Aqsa TV reporter, Ahmad Qudaih, his account was closed noting that he created it 10 years ago and it is followed by around “30,000 users without receiving any message or clarification” as he stated to MADA researcher.

The reporter of Amad Media Website, journalist Safinaz Allouh, stated that Facebook closed her page, which was created three years ago and followed by about 14500 users without warning, noting that a previous account for her was deleted and it was followed by 24,800 persons also without warning or justifying the causes.

The media professional, Abdelaziz Nofal, stated to MADA researcher “that his Facebook page has been disabled since Friday morning, corresponding 24th May 2019, and after he attempted to figure out why, the Facebook administration asked him for his personal identity card, and after he sent it, he received the reply “there is an unknown error”. On the following day, Nofal created a new personal account on Facebook, with his personal photo as profile picture, but only with a slight change in his name by one letter only. The Facebook Administration immediately blocked him which is what happened with the journalist and programs presenter at Al-Quds Radio, Mohammad Qatania, as his account was closed on Friday noon, and he created two other accounts which were blocked as well.

The journalist, Ahmad Qudai, who works for Al-Aqsa TV, stated that his account he created on Facebook ten years ago was closed for the first time without knowing the reasons and without receiving any messages that clarifies why the Facebook page was closed especially that it is followed by more than 30 users. The freelance photographer Hassan Eslaih said that his page, which is followed by 95,000 users, was closed without prior warning. He said that 11 previous pages had been closed since 2014, most of which were closed without warning, and the most recent was closed a month ago. It was followed by 90,000 users. As to the journalist, Nour Al-Najjar, the Facebook administration closed her page, which is followed by 27,000 users.

According to the investigations of MADA female and male researchers, all of whom pages have been closed have received the same notification on Facebook: “Hello, Thank you for your response, we will ask you to reply with a photo of yourself with one of your personal identification items” to the link. After they sent their IDs, they received the response “An unknown error has occurred”. The journalist Wael Abu Amro, Head of Smart for Media Services in Gaza, has received a message that his account has been ultimately disabled. He created a new account from a cell phone and a location outside Gaza Strip, and it has not been closed.

The campaign included the closure of personal pages of the following journalists: Abdel Aziz Nawfal, the programs presenter of Ma'an TV and Orouba radio station in the West Bank, Hafeth Tallahmeh (programs creator and coordinator at Alam Radio / West Bank), the journalist Amani Al-Hawarin (programs presenter in Siraj Radio/West Bank), journalist Mueen Tayseer Al-Dabbah/Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Al-Sharif/West Bank, Ihab Adas/Gaza, freelance photojournalist Hassan Islaih/Gaza, Al-Hadath Newspaper reporter, Muthanna Al-Najjar/Gaza, the journalist Safinaz Allouh/Gaza, the journalist Jamal Younes/Gaza, the sports programs presenter of Palestine Sports TV and Al-Quds Radio in Gaza, Alaa Salama, Mohammad Al-Amour, Ali Hirzallah, Abdullah Hirzallah, Ahmad Siam, Sawt Al-Asra reporter, Hani Al-Shaer, Osama Labad, Hussein Shajaiya, Khamees Abu Haseera, Wael Abu Omar, Al-Ghad TV Director in Gaza, Ahmad Awda, Baladna TV announcer, Abdelhameed Abdulmuti, Al-Aqsa TV correspondent Ismail Abu Omar, Al-Aqsa TV journalist Ahmad Qudaih, Chairman of the Youth Media Council Iyad Al-Qamra, the anchor of Palestine Today TV, journalist Reem Abu Hasira, the Media professional of Itihad Press Website, the journalist Hassan Shahin, the Media professional Mahmoud Al-Sherif, Dr. Mahmoud Baroud, the Journalist Osama Al-Kalhout, the journalists Israa Al-Bahisi and Nour Al-Najjar, Yacoub Abu Ghalwa, the media professional Hussein Khrais, the journalist Rami Abu Taima, the media professionals Rami Al-Najjar, Saed Abu Muhsen, and Mohammad Al-Haddad, the media professional Amal Al-Bahabsa, the author Iyad Al-Qamara, Sami Hussein, Yasser Abdelghafour, the photographer Alaa Hamouda, Hammam Al-Hattab, the photographer Ihab Fasfous, Anas Al-Sharif, Iyad Qudaih, the staff member of Al-Aqsa Radio, Iyad Abu Raida, Farhan Abu Hadayed, Yasser Abu A’thra, “Masdar” Network staff member Mohammad Qandeel, the staff member of Palestine Today TV Mohammad Jodah, Dr. Jawad Al-Dalo Media Faculty of the Islamic University, Palestine Today TV photographer Dauod Abu Al-Kas, the author and political analyst Dr. Adnan Abu Amer, Dr. Hasan Abu Hashish, professor of media in the Islamic University and the former undersecretary of the Ministry of Information.

These closures also included closing the pages of a group of activities: Osama Al-Safadi, Mohammad Shukri, Muath Ragab, Tareq Khalaf, author Hossam Al-Dajny, Ali Nasman, author Nisreen Mousa, Mohamed Al-Soury, Ashraf Abde Jodah and Mazen Arshe. This also included closing the page of the Spokesman of the Ministry of Health in Gaza Strip, Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, the Journalist Mohammed al-Tawil, Mohammad Haniyeh, the media professional Mahmoud Bassam, the author and political analyst Wajih Abu Thareefa, the journalist Khaled Khattab, the journalist Ibrahim Al-Sheikh Ali, and the journalist Majdulin Hassouna.

 

(24th May) The photojournalist Atta Hadayed was injured by a rubber bullet while he was covering the events of the peaceful return march east of Gaza.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, Atta Bassam Hadayed (24 years old), a photojournalist of Palestine News Agency, went, at around 4:00PM, on Fruday, 24th May 2019, to the border area east of Khuza’a, along with his colleagues to cover the events of the weekly peaceful return march. He was carrying a camera and wearing the Press vest. He stopped at a distance of 100 meters away from Jakr Street and started filming the demonstrators in conjunction with the heavy firing of gas bombs by the Israeli occupation forces. At around 5:00PM, he was injured by a rubber bullet in the palm of his right hand and the camera fell and broke. He was transferred by the paramedics in an ambulance to the medical point 700 meters away from the western cam where he received the first aid. Ten minutes later, the doctors recommended that he shall be transferred to the military hospital, eastern of Absan, east of Khan Younes, for suspected broken fingers, and upon arrival at the hospital at about 5:30PM, it was found that the bullet caused fractures in two fingers, and his hand was placed in cast. He was given pain killers and left the hospital after about an hour to his house. Until the time this report is prepared (29th May 2019) he is still suffering from pain in his hand.

 

(26th May) “Al-Hayat Al-Jadida” was prosecuted by the Ministries of Interior and Information of Hamas in Gaza Strip, to prevent publishing the daily newspaper issued in the West Bank and prevent distributing the same in Gaza Strip under the pretext that the newspaper “publishes inciting material which provoke violence, hate, and sedition as well as assaulting public and private property which leads to harming peace and security and stirring sectarian strife against the people of a single nation” as stated in a complaint filed by the Ministries of Interior and Information to Gaza Court of Magistrate in this regard.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, one of “Al-Hayat Al-Jadida” staff member has received, during mid April 2019, a phone call from the Government Media Office of Hamas in Gaza, and he was informed that there was a case initiated against the Newspaper by the Ministry of Interior. The Media Office, in its capacity as the link among the media agencies and the police, contacts the newspaper to inform it of the need to hear its statements in the subject of the filed case without referring to the nature of the complaint directly. At the time, the employee of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida informed him that the director of the newspaper in Gaza, Dr. Tahsin Al-Astal, was traveling, and that he will be informed when he returns. On April 17, Dr. Tahsin returned to Gaza Strip, and a week later, he was contacted by the government information office to attend to the prosecution office. He went to the prosecution office in the presence of Mahmoud Al-Farra from the government media office. He found out that the newspaper was accused of “libel and defamation” due to filming the issues of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida of (leave Hamas leave), a shout chanted by demonstrators in the popular movement "We want to Live", which was released in March 2019 in Gaza. On Sunday, 26th May 2019, a letter from the Public Prosecution Office was received by the headquarters of the newspaper in Gaza / Al-Rimal neighborhood / Al-Shorouq Tower / 9th floor, signed by the Attorney General of Gaza, Mr. Diaa Al-Deen Al-Madhoun. And that based on the complaint of the Ministries of Interior and Information filed against the newspaper, accusing the newspaper of “defamation and publishing inciting materials which provoke violence, hate, and sedition as well as assaulting public and private property which leads to harming peace and security and stirring sectarian strife against the people of a single nation”. The Attorney General (Diaa Al-Madhoun) recommended that Gaza Magistrate Court “shall issue a fair decision in the presence of a single party under which the newspaper must be prohibited in Gaza Strip”. Furthermore, another letter was received from Gaza Magistrate Court under No. 450/2019, stating the need of the presence of the director general of the newspaper, Majid Al-Rimawi, resident of Ramallah, court of Gaza, 10th June 2019.

It is interesting to note that the petition submitted by the two ministries calls on the Attorney General to prevent the entry of the newspaper "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida", which is based in Ramallah and distributed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, demanding that the Attorney General to issue his decision to prevent the newspaper from entering Gaza Strip "in the presence of a single party” as stated in the petition, which is considered a pre-emptive of what will happen as the director general of the newspaper Majid Al-Rimawi, the resident in Ramallah, will not attend the court session scheduled for the tenth of June to be tried in Gaza.

 

(31st May) The photojournalist Ahmad Salah Al-Najjar by a rubber bullet in the back fired at him by the occupation soldiers while he was covering the peaceful return march east of Khan Younes.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, Ahmad Salah Al-Najjar (21 years old), from Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younes, southern Gaza Strip, a photographer of Nour Media Network, has arrived at 3:35PM, on Friday, 31st May 2019, Khuza’a, east of Khan Younes, to cover the peaceful return march. He was wearing the blue vest marked press, carrying a cell phone to use it in covering and documenting the events. He stopped at the berm looking toward the separation fence, eastern the camp, 350 meters away from the fence. At approximately 04:00PM, he approached the fence. He saw two Israeli jeeps firing rubber bullets at the demonstrators who were suffocated. At approximately 4.40PM, he approached a distance of approximately 100 meters away from the separation fence. He began filming the Israeli soldiers firing tear gas bombs and rubber bullets at the demonstrators and took some photos of the injured ones. In the meantime, a soldier was firing rubber bullets from the top of a military jeep. At approximately 5:20PM, while he was filming these events, he was injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the right side of his back. Some volunteers from the Palestinian Red Crescent rushed and transferred him to the medical point, 700 meters away from the separation fence, and there he received the necessary aid.

 

(31st-5) The Israeli occupation forces prevented Munther Al-Khatib from filming scenes of crowds of citizens heading to Qalandiya military checkpoint to Jerusalem for the last Friday prayers of Ramadan and threatened to destroy his camera forcing him to leave the place.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, the photographer Munther Mohammad Shahada Al-Khatib, of Al-Ghad TV, arrived, at around 10:00AM, on Friday, 31st May 2019, to film the crowds of Palestinians heading to Jerusalem through Qalandiya checkpoint, separating Ramallah from Jerusalem, where the Israeli occupation forces conducts searches and inspections of worshipers heading to the occupied Jerusalem on the last Friday of Ramadan. At approximately 12.45PM, the Israeli soldiers prevented him from coverage.  Two Israeli soldiers pushed and dragged Al-Khatib from his shirt, and a hird soldier violently took the camera from the photographer Al-Khatib amid threats to destroy it if the he did not return. He stood above one of the cement cubes located about 30 meters away from soldiers to photograph the crowds at the checkpoint. The soldiers forced him to move away even though he immediately showed them the Israeli press card he was carrying and told them that he was going to leave immediately upon completing his work in few minutes. However, one officer threatened him to destroy the camera if he continued filming which forced him to leave.

 

          The photo shows  Atta Hadayed Palestine News Agency photojournalist, was hit by a rubber bullet in the right hand while covering the return marches east of Khuza'a.