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“MADA”: 38 attacks against media freedoms in Palestine during July

Ramallah – (6th August 2019) – July 2019 has witnessed a rise in the number of attacks against media freedoms in Palestine, compared to June, while Facebook continued closing more pages and accounts for news agencies and journalists claiming “violation of Facebook criteria”.

The Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms “MADA” has documented during July a total of 38 attacks (compared to 29 attacks documented during June). The Israeli Occupation has committed a total of 18 attacks while 4 attacks were committed by Palestinian authorities, and 16 were committed by Facebook through closing the pages and accounts of media institutions and journalists followed by tens of thousands compared to 29 attacks against media freedoms documented during the preceding month, June.

 

Israeli Violations

The number of violations committed by the Israeli occupation authorities and forces has decreased from 28 attacks documented during June to 18 attacks documented during July. However, these attacks have not changed in terms of type as most of which fall under the most serious attacks threatening the lives of female/male journalists and media freedoms.

The injury of journalist Sami Jamal Masran by explosive gunshot fragments the most serious and tragic injury as it caused him serious wounds and loss of vision completely in that eye, even though the journalist Sami, in a separate incident at the beginning of that month, was injured by rubber bullet without causing him any harm (he was wearing the protective vest).

Among the most prominent Israeli attacks, is the injury of Mohammad Atef Al-Arbeed (by a gunshot in his thigh), the journalist Safinaz Baker Allouh (by a rubber bullet in her shoulder), the cameraman  Mahmoud Zakaria Abu Muslem (by a rubber bullet in his leg), the reporter of Al-Ghad TV Khaled Saleh Budair (by a gas bomb directly in his abdomen), the cameraman  of French News Agency Jafar Zahed Ishataya (by a rubber bullet in his upper thigh), Omar Ismail Al-Amour (by a gas bomb directly in his back), Ayat Khaled Arqawi (by a gas bomb directly in her Loin), assaulting the journalist Abdelhafeeth Thiab Al-Hashlamoun the cameraman  of the European News Agency, and Mashhour Hassan Al-Wahwah the cameraman  of Palestinian News Agency “Wafa”, and arresting the Director of Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in Tulkarem, Ahmad Juma Ba’jawi, after raiding and searching his house.

In addition to the Israeli attacks, Facebook Administration has closed no less than 16 pages belonging to journalists and media institutions following the understandings it has concluded with the Israeli Government under which Facebook has to delete and remove any post Israel deems as an “incitement”. It should be noted that Facebook has closed around 65 pages for Palestinian journalists and media institutions in May claiming of posting materials “inciting violence”.

 

Palestinian Violations

The Palestinian violations remained at extremely low levels, and only four violations were documented this month (3 of which have taken place in the West Bank while one has taken place in Gaza Strip), namely: arresting the journalist Thaer Ziad Al-Fakhouri by the Preventive Security Services for 6  days after raiding and searching his house as well as a Press he owns, subjecting the independent journalist Sami Saed Al-Saie to a campaign of threats and smear (not by official authorities but by citizens) due to publishing a video for a group of persons who were disrupting traffic in Tulkarem by drafting in their vehicles in the streets. This is in addition to summoning the journalist Ihab Omar Al-Fasfous by the Public Prosecution and Khan Younes Court as part of prosecuting him due to publishing a video in September, 2018 that shows his nephew being assaulted and tortured by Khan Younes Police.

 

Details of Violations:

(5th July) The cameraman  Sami Jamal Masran was injured by a rubber bullet while he was covering the return peaceful march organized weekly, east of Bureij Camp, Gaza Strip.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, Sami Jamal Taleb Masran, born on 26th Jan. 1984, from Al-Nuseirat Camp, a photojournalist at Al-Aqsa TV, has arrived at around 4:30PM, on Friday, corresponding 5th July 2019 to east of Bureij to cover the weekly organized return peaceful march to protest against the ongoing siege over Gaza Strip. One hour later, at 5:30PM, while the cameraman  Sami Masran was at 250 meters away from the separation fence on the other side of which the occupation soldiers were deployed, accompanied by a group of journalists, the soldiers started firing bullets and gas bombs at the demonstrators, and he was injured by a rubber bullet in the protective vest he was wearing, the bullet penetrated the vest and ripped it, but did not cause him any harm.  

(9th July) The guard of Kiryat Arba settlement, east of Hebron, prevented the staff of Palestinian News Agency “Wafa”, and Palestine TV to film the excavation that was taking place in the lands of citizens close to the mentioned settlement, and detained them for 15 minutes.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, at around 10:30AM, on Tuesday, corresponding 9th July 2019, the journalists Hamza Mohammad Mahmoud Al-Hattab (32 years old) works as a reporter, Samar Yasine Bader (55 years old) a photojournalist, both working for Wafa Agency, Alaa Nader Mohammad Al-Haddad (31 years old) a photojournalist, and Wouod Sami Mohammad Masimi (29 years old) a reporter, both working for Palestine TV, altogether went to Al-Baq’a area, adjacent to Kiryat Arba settlement, east of Hebron, to film what were the settlers doing in the area. He was holding his cell phone and filming them, and they were asked to walk away and leave the area. The four journalists went to the vehicle they had to leave the place for fear of being assaulted by the settlers who were there. In the meantime, at around 10:55AM, a Rover Jeep arrived, from which a settler wearing military shield and carrying a gun stepped out. He asked the journalists Hamza Hattab and Alaa Al-Haddad to accompany him while the female journalists Samar Bader and Wouod Al-Masini, remained inside the vehicle. The two journalists walked with the settler for a distance of 20 meters until they arrived his vehicle, where the Settlement Guard asked them to show their IDs and informed them that they have to leave the area as there is a military decision to close it. He also told them that being there will make them subject to arrest. The four journalists left the area at around 11:15AM, and went to Metula to complete their report.

 

(11th July) Officers of the Israeli Border Police have assaulted and attacked a number of journalists by sound and gas bombs while they were covering a peaceful sit-in organized to protest against the decision of the Israeli occupation authorities’ decision to demolish 16 houses at Wadi Al-Hummus, northern Bethlehem.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, a group of journalists have arrived to Wadi Al-Hummus, located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, subject to the Palestinian security sovereignty, between 11:00AM and 11:30AM on the morning of Thursday, corresponding 11th July 2019 to cover the events of a peaceful gathering organized by the families and activities to object against the decision of the occupation authorities of demolishing 16 residential premises claiming their closure to the Apartheid Wall. The activists have pitched a sit-in tent, near Murad Tourism Park & Spa, while a great number of the Border Police officers were deploying above the hill overlooking the tent behind the Apartheid Wall, and while the journalists were covering this event, and filming the occupation soldiers, at around 12:00PM, the police officers fired four gas bombs at the journalists, to force them to walk away and prevent them from coverage even though there were a number of journalists and there were no clashes in the area. The journalists walked away so they won’t be suffocated. At around 12:30PM, some officers of the Israeli Border Police raided the area and attempted to demolish the tent pitched by the activists. After arguing with them, the soldiers started throwing sound and gas bombs randomly at the demonstrators and journalists, which resulted in the injury of three journalists by suffocation. They were treated in the filed by Palestine Red Crescent staff. These journalists were: Hamad Ali Taqatqa (28 years old) a cameraman  of Palestine News Agency, Nouraldin Mohammad Banat (26 years old) a reporter of Fact International TV, who was transferred in the evening of the same day to Beit Jala Government Hospital, where he was given the necessary treatment and stayed for 3 hours as he was suffering shortness and difficulty of breath, in addition to the journalist Safia Omar Qawar (33 years old), a reporter of Baladna Radio. Then the journalists had to walk away and leave the area as the occupation forces announced the area as a closed military zone.

 

(11th July) Facebook Administration has closed no less than 16 pages belonging to journalists and news institutions and followed by tens of thousands claiming “they violate the criteria of posting, and privacy” as the notifications received by the users of these accounts showed.

MADA researcher documented several violations which have affected the pages of journalists TVs as well as local and international news agencies operating in the Palestinian territories, including “Al-Ghad TV, Sanad Agency, Sharq News Network, Sabaq 24 Agency” in addition to a number of journalists, including: “the freelance journalist Hassan Islaih, Al-Risala Newspaper reporter Mahmoud Haniya, the freelance cameraman  Yacoub Abu Ghalwa, Al-Hadath Newspaper reporter Muthana Al-Najjar, the freelance cameraman  Muneed Abu Hatab, Masdar Network cameraman  Mohammad Qindeel”.

Moreover, Al-Ghad-Palestine TV Page, followed by about 330,000 followers, was closed, after receiving the following message “your page has been unpublished” claiming that “it violates the criteria of Facebook” after using the word “Hamas” and “Al-Qassam” in more than one news, between 4:00-5:00PM, on Thursday, corresponding 11th July 2019, as the journalist Ayman Abu Shanab, who works for Al-Ghad – Palestine TV stated. Furthermore, Sanad News Agency, followed by 42,000 followers was also closed at around 4:30PM, on Thursday, corresponding 11th July 2019, after receiving a similar notification (your pages has been removed due to violating the criteria of Facebook) after posting the news of the death of one of the Palestinian Resistance officers, northern Gaza Strip (as stated by the journalist Abed Abu Naja, working for Sanad News Agency), in addition to closing Sharq News Network, followed by 22,000 followers, between 8:00-9:00AM, on 9th July 2019, after posting news about Al-Qassam Brigades according to Wisam Radwan who works for the Network, not to mention the closure of Sabaq 24 Agency, followed by more than 26,000 followers at around 8:00PM, on Thursday, corresponding 11th July 2019, after posting news about Al-Qassam Brigades (as stated the journalist Mohammad Jarbou working for Sabaq Agency).

 

(12th July) The cameraman , Mahmoud Zakaria Abu Muslem, volunteering with Palestine Al-Hadath, was injured by a rubber bullet in his foot while he was covering the peaceful march taking place east of Bureij Camp, Gaza Strip. 

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, Mahmoud Zakaria Abu Muslem, born on 19th Jan. 1997, from Al-Maghazi, a reporter and volunteer reporter with the media team of Palestine Al-Hadath, has arrived at around 4:30PM, on Friday, corresponding 12th July 2019, to Bureij Camp, east of the central governorate, to cover the weekly-organized peaceful march as part of the return marches. In fifteen minutes following his arrival, he started covering the demonstration, while he was 200 meters away from the separation fence on the other side of which the Israeli soldiers were deployed. The Israeli occupation soldiers fired rubber bullets which resulted in injuring him by a rubber bullet in his left leg (specifically above the Tibia) even though he was wearing the Press helmet and vest. Immediately, a nearby ambulance moved towards him and the paramedics took him to the field medical point located 100 meters away where he received the first aid and then he was transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital to image the injury. At around 5:30PM, he arrived the hospital and his injury was imaged but showed no fracture and only a slight wound. After an hour, he was discharged.

 

(16th July) The occupation soldiers have attacked a group of journalists while they were covering the demolish of a facility by the occupation army, east of Hebron, which resulted in the injury of one of them with bruises, while the other was injured with slight wounds after they were pushed and assaulted by the occupation soldiers.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, at around 8:00AM, on Tuesday, corresponding 16th July 2019, a force of the Israeli Border Police, accompanied by excavation vehicles, raided Wadi Al-Ghrous, east of Hebron, to execute the demolish of a water collection pool, owned by a citizen of Al-Jabari family. A number of journalists arrived to the location to cover the events, and during the demolish, some family members of Al-Jabari attempted to stop the vehicles, but some Border Police officers assaulted them by beating and prevented them from moving forward. The soldiers started shouting at the journalists to force them to walk away and prevent them from filming and coverage. While the journalists were covering what was happening, one of the Israeli Border Police officers attempted to attack the journalist Abdelhafeeth Thiab Abdelhafeeth Al-Hashlamoun (55 years old), a cameraman  of the European News Agency. He violently grabbed him and pushed him to the ground, Al-Hashlamoun fell on his face which resulted in injuring him with slight wounds in his hands and legs. The glass frame of the camera he was carrying was broken. Other officers also attacked the other journalists, including the cameraman  of Palestine News Agency “Wafa” Mashhour Hassan Mahmoud Al-Wahwah (34 years old), ripped his shirt and injured him with slight bruises in his hands while they were pushing him violently. Then the journalists started walking away so they will not be attacked or assaulted again.

 

(19th July) The occupation forces have directly targeted a group of journalists while they were covering a peaceful march east of Bureij, Gaza Strip. This resulted in the injury of the photojournalist Sami Masran by gunshot fragments in his left eye causing him serious wounds and loss of vision, not to mention the journalist Safinaz Allouh who was injured by a rubber bullet in the back.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, the cameraman  Sami Jamal Taleb Masran, born on 26th Jan. 1984, from Al-Nuseirat Camp, a photojournalist of Al-Aqsa TV, went, on Friday corresponding 19th July 2019 to east of Bureij to cover the events of the return peaceful march (The Friday of burning the Israeli Flag) called for by the Supreme National Authority for Return Marches and Break the Siege. At around 6:30PM, while he was covering the demonstration, one of the demonstrators was injured by the occupation soldiers bullets, Sami and a number of journalists approached the injured demonstrator to film her, and one of the soldiers rushed at that moment and fired directly at the journalists and citizens who gathered in the area which resulted in the injury of the journalists Sami Masran and Safinaz Allouh. Sami was injured by explosive gunshot fragments in his left eye even though he was wearing the protective vest. Immediately he was transferred by an ambulance to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital and given the gravity of his condition, as he was bleeding from his eye, he was immediately transferred to Al-Shifa Medical Complex and was admitted to the ICU. The doctors found that the explosive gunshot fragments directly injured his eye and the cornea. On the following day, corresponding 20th July 2019, the journalist Sami was transferred to the Eyes Hospital to undergo a surgery and remove the fragments in his eye. It was found that the fragments have caused laceration in the eye and cornea as well as the eye liquid, which resulted in losing his vision completely in that eye as it was found after the surgery he underwent in which there were inner stitches (which will be removed in three months) and outside stitches but the appointment to remove them has not been scheduled yet. He stayed in the Eyes Hospital for eight days (until 28th July 2019) provided he shall come back to the hospital on the 4th August 2019 for follow-up purposes.

As to the journalist Safinaz Baker Mahmoud Allouh, born on 17th March 1989, resides in Gaza, a reporter and news editor of Amad News Website, she was injured by a rubber bullet in her left shoulder when she went to film a demonstration. She was taken to the nearest field medical point, located in Al-Awda Camp, east of Bureij, where the demonstration was taking place. Then she was transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where she arrived at 7:00PM, on Friday, and where she underwent some x-rays which showed that the rubber bullet has caused her slight fracture in the shoulder. She was given some pain killers and after one hour, she was discharged.

 

(19th July) The reporter of Al-Ghad TV was injured by a gas bomb fired at him by an Israeli soldier while he was covering the weekly-organized march in Kufr Qaddum, and the photojournalist Jafar Ishataya was also injured by a rubber bullet while he was covering the march.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, Al-Ghad TV staff, including the cameraman  of the TV in the West Bank Khaled Saleh Mahmoud Budair (30 years old), and the cameraman  Mahmoud Zakarneh, on Friday corresponding 19th July 2019, have arrived to Kufr Qaddum to live cover the weekly-organized return march. They were wearing the Press helmet and vest. At around 2:15PM, the clashes intensified between the demonstrators and occupation soldiers, while the staff was behind a residential building, 20 meters away from the soldiers and the demonstrators filming the events. The occupation soldiers heavily fired rubber bullets and gas bombs at the journalists. One of these bombs injured the journalist Khaled Budair in the abdomen, even though he was 20 meters away from the soldiers. Khaled was taken by an ambulance which was 30 meters away from them, he also received the first aid (an oxygen mask was placed for him in addition to ice and water). He remained for twenty minutes in the ambulance before returning at 2:45PM to complete his work.

On the same day, Jafar Zahed Hussein Ishataya (51 years old), a cameraman  of the French News Agency, he arrived at 12:00PM, on that day, corresponding 19th July 2019 to the eastern area of Kufr Qaddum to cover the weekly-organized return march. He was in an area close to the occupation soldiers (about 100 meters away from them) to avoid the risk of being shot and targeted. While they were there, the Patrol Officer in charge ordered them to return and go to the western area (towards the demonstrators who were throwing stones at the occupation soldiers). Jafar was arguing with the Israeli officer and told him that he and his colleagues cannot return towards the demonstrators, but the officer insisted that they leave and walk away. Jafar and the Director of the French News Agency in Ramallah (who was amongst the journalists in the area) went to a nearby area close to the demonstrators who were throwing stones. At around 1:30PM, Jafar was 70 meters away from the demonstrators and the soldiers who were firing rubber bullets and tear gas bombs at the demonstrators. One of the soldiers fired a rubber bullet at Jafar Ishataya, which injured him in the bottom even though he was wearing the protective vest and helmet marked PRESS. Ishataya was taken by a Red Crescent ambulance which was 70 meters away from him. He received the necessary first aid and was transferred to the Hospital. But he could not complete his work, and left to his house with his colleague (the Agency Director in Ramallah).

 

(20th July) The Public Prosecution and Khan Younes Court have summoned the journalist Ihab Al-Fasfous as part of prosecuting him in connection to publishing a video in September 2018 showing his nephew being assaulted and tortured by Khan Younes Police.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, Ihab Omar Yousef Al-Fasfous (46 years old) who resides in central Khan Younes, southern Gaza Strip, a freelance journalist, received through one of the Security Officers on Saturday, corresponding 20th July 2019, two summons, one of which from Khan Younes Magistrate Court titled “suspected announcement” which stated that must go to the court on Tuesday, corresponding 19th September 2019, 9:00AM, to be tried for the charge of misusing the Internet and that if there were any witnesses, the necessary measures need to be taken to ensure their attendance to the court. He also received another notification within the same paper titled “List of Charge” prepared by the Public Prosecution through Khan Younes Magistrate Court, in the name of Ihab Omar Yousef Fasfous (46 years old) and his brother Ameen Omar Yousef Fasfous (44 years old) for the charge of “misusing the technology devices in violation of Article 262 repeated A 36”. The details of the notification included “the mentioned accused persons have misused the technology (Internet) by recording through the Internet materials harming the victim, Bilal Fadel Salem Abu Jazar, the General Investigations Services – Khan Younes Governorate, as shown in the attached minutes, illegally and against the law”. The journalist Fasfous was arrested by the Police of Khan Younes, in the middle of September 2018 for three days he spent in food strike, on the background of publishing a video at the beginning of September 2018 to the page “The Palestinian Journalistic Gathering for Human Rights” which Fasfous was going to manage then. The video showed his nephew Saif Ameen Fasfous (14 years old) with torture marks on him caused by the Police in Khan Younes. When the police released him then, he was informed that the case has not been closed yet until the court issues its award. And he received a notification from the court on Saturday morning, corresponding 20th July 2019.

 

(20th July) The journalist Omar Al-Amour and the journalist Ayat Arqawi were injured by two gas bombs fired at them directly by the occupation soldiers while they were covering a peaceful sit-in protesting against the demolish of dozens of Palestinian houses located in Wadi Al-Hummus, Jerusalem.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, Omar Ismal Al-Amour (23 years old), from Tuqu’, Bethlehem, a reporter and cameraman  of Orient Radio, and Ayat Khaled Arqawi (28 years old) from Ramallah, a cameraman  of APE, have arrived along with another number of female/male journalists on Saturday morning, corresponding 20th July 2019, to Wadi Al-Hummus to cover a peaceful sit-in protesting against the demolish and to show solidarity with the s=families of that area. After one hour of the sit-in, the demonstrators approached the soldiers while the journalists remained away from both. The soldiers then started firing a barrage of gas bombs at the demonstrators and journalists which resulted in the injury of journalist Omar Al-Amour by a gas bomb directly in his back, while the journalist Ayat Arqawi was injured by a gas bomb in her loin, and they both received the first aid. 

 

(22nd July) At around 6:00PM, on Monday, corresponding 22nd July 2019, the freelance journalist Rami Mahfouth Abdelhafeeth Al-Khateeb (from Anata, born on 10th Jan. 1977), was at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, and received in the meantime a message that some clashes were taking place at Al-Aqsa Mosque squares as a result of the expulsion of a media delegation from Al-Aqsa Mosque that has arrived from an Arab State under an invitation from the Israeli Occupation. Accordingly, Rami Al-Khateeb went to Al-Aqsa Mosque, and upon his arrival he started filming the expulsion of the delegation from Al-Aqsa squares outside Jerusalem ancient walls. At 1:00PM, on the following day, Tuesday, corresponding 23rd July 2019, the cameraman  Rami Al-Khateeb received a summons from the occupation forces to question him. Thus, he went to “AL-Fashla” investigation center, at 3:53PM where he waited for four hours before being questioned. The questions of the investigation revolved around the identity of persons whom he have seen in the area while filming in addition to asking him to provide them with the videos that shows the faces of young men who were at the place of event. However, he informed the investigator that the material he has filmed was not with him and he was accused of “assault and cursing” which is denied in the filmed material not to mention asking him why he only filmed and did not provided assistance. Al-Kateeb replied “we are journalists and this is not our job, we have witnessed many injuries but we do not intervene and we try to stay neutral as much as possible”. At around 9:30PM on the same day, that is after six hours, he was released and left Al-Fashla investigation center.

 

(22nd July) The photojournalist of Shihab News Agency Mohammad Al-Arbeed was injured by an M16 bullet in the upper thigh causing an entry and exit while he was covering the trucks march protesting against the siege imposed on Gaza Strip.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, Mohammad Atef Mohammad Al-Arbeed (24 years old), a single man, from Al-Tawam northern Gaza Strip, a cameraman  of Shihab News Agency, went, at around 12:15PM, on Monday (22nd July 2019), to the entrance of Beit Hadoun Town, northern Gaza Strip, to cover the march of trucks and public transportation organized to protest against the continuous siege imposed since more than 12 years on Gaza Strip causing serious harm and damage. When the march arrived Malka, the place was crowded with peaceful demonstrators, and Mohammad Al-Arbeed, after ten minutes, retreated to the back at a distance of 400 meters away from the separation fence on the other side of which the soldiers were deployed. At around 12:45PM, while he was covering the events, the Israeli occupation soldiers fired gas bombs randomly and heavily at the demonstrators and journalists who were close to them. One of the soldiers fired about 5 gunshots one of which injured him in the upper thigh causing an entry and exit. Immediately, he was transferred by a vehicle of one of the demonstrators to Al-Shifa Medical Complex (there were no ambulances in the area) where he was examined by the doctors who described his situation as “slight and did not require a surgery”. After about one hour, he left the house, and two hours and a half after he arrived the house he suffered headache and dizziness. The bleeding continued and did not stop. His situation required that an ambulance transfer him to Palestine Red Crescent to the Indonesian Hospital, northern Gaza Strip, where he made some medical tests that showed his blood was 10,8 (out of 15,30). His injury was cleaned and he received the necessary treatment and was discharged in two days (Wednesday, corresponding 24th July 2019). On Saturday, corresponding 27th July 2019, at around 7:30AM, he was transferred by a civilian vehicle to Kamal Adwan to undergo a small operation for cleaning the wound as a result of being injured with severe infections. After four house, he was discharged and returned home. On the coming days, he repeatedly visited Hijazi Clinic located in the area where he lives for follow-up purposes and changing the wound dressing.

 

(23rd July) The independent journalist Sami Al-Saie was subjected to defamation campaign and threats through the social media including the Facebook due to publishing a video for persons who were hindering the traffic in Tulkarem by drafting in their vehicles in the city streets.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, Sami Saed Abed Al-Saie (an independent journalist and field monitor at MADA) has received on Sunday, corresponding 21st July 2019, at 11:40PM, a video clip sent to him by one of Tulkarem citizens through WhatsApp showing some vehicles “drafting” around “Mega Land” square, Shweika street. It should be noted that the person who filmed the video was speaking about those vehicles and how they were disrupting the traffic even there was an ambulance. The journalist Sami All-Saie posted the video on his personal page at 11:49PM and there were comments and objection by some of the users on the post, and they demanded that those who were drafting have to be held accountable. On the following day, 22 July 2019 the General Investigations contacted the journalist Sami and asked him to send the video to question him about it. Indeed, he sent it to them and contacted the PCP Spokesman, Colonel Loay Irzeqat and showed him the video. The later informed him that one of the vehicles was found and its owner was arrested, and that the remaining vehicles are being searched for. So Sami published these updates on his personal page. On the following day, corresponding 23rd July 2019, Sami Al-Saie was surprised by some persons from Shweika posting a series of comments through their Facebook pages involving defamation and libel including curses and insults such as “the yellow journalist, the person with glasses, the seller of dates, the person who used Ashraf Naalwa, the person who posted about Shweika young men” other commented “traitor, bad manners, agent, delegate, follower” some of the comments even included threats with beating. The journalist did not file any kind of complain against them and informed the Syndicate only.

 

(24th July) The Palestinian Preventive Service has arrested the journalist Thaer Ziad Al-Fakhouri for six days after raiding and searching his house.

According to the investigations of MADA field researcher, Thaer Ziad Al-Fakhouri (30 years old), married and has two children, a photojournalist who works at the Public Relations Department of Hebron Municipality, owns Space Media for Production, has received, at around 12:00PM, on Wednesday 24th July 2019, a phone call from his brother Qusai, and he was informed that he need to immediately come as a force of the Preventive Security Services is asking about him and they searched his own shop (Qusai’s barber shop). Upon Thaer’s arrival to his brother’s barber shop, 8 officers of the Preventive Security Service took him to the store of Space Media Production, and searched him. And then they went with Thaer to his house located in Hebron and thoroughly searched it, seize the computer, laptop, I pad, and cell phone and arrested him. When Thaer arrived to the headquarters of the Preventive Security Service, one of the security officers informed him that he was “a guest at the headquarters and not a detainee”. He talked with him about security and that it is everyone’s duty to maintain the same. After that, Thaer was transferred to a room where 5 investigators were present, including Abdelnasser Al-Barbarawi, who proceeded talking about serving the country. They questioned him about videos and Facebook pages without identifying the same and informed him that these videos prejudice the country’s security, even though Thaer did not understand what they meant and told them he was willing to cooperate. The investigator opened one of the videos and it was about one of the preventive security officers referred to by the video publisher that he is holding photographs and names of agents working for the Palestinian Authority, this is in addition to a collection of videos on the corruption of the Palestinian National Authority.  The investigator informed him that he was not accused of producing this video but rather they want him to help them, based on his technical experience, identify the person who produced it, and the page owners who have posted it. Thaer replied that he cannot do so, and he was asked by the investigator on the financial transfers he receives from his work with “AL-Jazeera” and others. When Thaer realized he was arrested, he announced his food strike. According to the lawyer Hijazi Abeedo, appointed by Al-Fakhouri family to follow up on Thaer’s case, the journalist Thaer Al-Fakhouri was brought before the court on Thursday (25th July 2019) for being charged of slander against the public authority. The Public Prosecution asked the court to extend his detention for 15 days, and the court, having viewed the details and heard the defense, decided to extend his detention for 4 days under investigation. Thaer announced his food and drink strike on Wednesday, to protest against his arrest. The doctor and officers of the Preventive Security Service tried to convince him to stop his strike, but the later refused and continued his strike until Saturday 27th July 2019 when he met with the Independent Commission for Human Rights and then he stopped his strike. On the same day, Thaer was taken back to the investigation and they asked him about his relationship with other persons who own Facebook pages, but he denied knowing them. On the following evening/Sunday, Thaer was questioned again and asked about a caricature of the President Mahmoud Abbas, and told that he could be imprisoned for this. However, Thaer denied posting the mentioned caricature. They also told him that PALTEL might file a case against him for “making a campaign against it while ago”. On Monday 29th July 2019, one the session previously scheduled for him, the court decided to release Thaer and deny the charges against him, namely slander against the public authority, he was released under a bail of 500 JD, that has not been paid or claimed. Two hours following the release decision (at around 11:00AM in the morning, Monday), Thaer was brought again to the investigator and told him that the Director of the Preventive Security Mohammad Nazzal wants to meet him, and asked him why he wouldn’t cooperate and remove some of the videos on the Facebook pages, and that this is why his release is being delayed, and that they are waiting for the Journalists Syndicate to take him. The journalist Thaer Al-Fakhouri was released on the afternoon of Monday, 29th July 2019, and it should be noted that all of his belongings which were seized when he was arrested are still with the Preventive Security Services until this day (4th August 2019).

 

(25th July) An occupation army force, at an early hour, on the morning of 25th July 2019, has raided the house of the Director of Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in Tulkarem, took him and his son to Mapodotan settlement where they were detained and questioned for few hours and then released.

According to the investigations of MADA researcher, an occupation army force, at 4:30AM, on Wednesday 25th July 2019, has raided the house of Ahmad Juma Najeeb Ba’jawi (52 years old), the Director of Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in Tulkarem, lives in his house located in the southern area, Ya’bad, adjacent to Dotan military barrier, separating Tulkarem from Jenin. Around 15-20 soldiers have entered the house, while 10 military patrols were outside. They searched the house violently and then arrested the journalist Ahmad and his son (14 years old) after the asked him for his ID and cell phone, as well as the cell phone of his son Zaid. At 5:10PM, they took them after they hand cuffed their hands and blindfolded them to Mapodotan settlement where Dotan military camp is separated from the house of Ahmad Bajawi about 3-4 kilometers. About 10 minutes later, they were taken to another military camp. They took them to Salem military camp, western Jenin, handcuffed and blindfolded. They removed the handcuffs and the blindfold. He told the journalist that he was paying attention to his son so that the army would not arrest him and that if there was any "Riot" in Yabed, they will arrest his son. They were released at about 9:30AM on the morning of the same day.

 

Journalist Safinaz Allouh",  Amad News reporter was injured by a rubber bullet in her left shoulder east of Bureij"