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“MADA”: 59 violations against media freedoms in Palestine during June, 48 of which were committed by the Israeli occupation

Ramallah (07/07/2020) – June 2020 has witnessed a broad wave of the attacks against media freedoms in Palestine, most of which committed by the Israeli occupation authorities and forces.

The Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms “MADA” has documented a total of 59 attacks, 48 of which were committed by the Israeli occupation, while different Palestinian authorities across the West Bank and Gaza Strip have committed a total of 8 violations, and Facebook Company committed one violation.  An unknown party also committed another attack

Although the total number of violations in June amounted to 59, it is relatively less less than the total number of violations documented in May, which reached 74. It is worth mentioning that more than 62% of the violations that were committed during May were committed by Facebook (46 violations), but fell to a one violation during June. In parallel, there is a sharp increase in the number of Israeli violations during June, which kept the number of violations within the very high levels.

Israeli Violations:

The Israeli occupation forces and authorities have escalated their attacks against journalists and media outlets in Palestine during June in an attempt to cover up the Palestinian peaceful protests. The scope of the Israeli attacks has expanded this month in rejection of the endeavors of the Israeli occupation authorities with regard to the annexation plane in the West Bank.

During June, the Israeli occupation forces committed a total of 48 attacks against journalists/media outlets, which represents a 166% increase compared to the total number of Israeli attacks documented in the previous month, which amounted to 18 attacks.

The prevention of coverage, and targeting journalists to keep them away from the places of events to prevent their coverage, constituted about 65% of all Israeli violations documented during June (29). This is in addition to the deport of journalist Sondos Owais from Al-Aqsa Mosque for a period of three months, which means preventing her from covering all events in one of the most sensitive points throughout this period. Additionally, the Israeli occupation injured three journalists with rubber-coated metal bullets and arrested two journalists.

The Israeli violations committed during June included: summoning the journalists Othman Jalajil, Murad Mohammad Isaid, Ashraf Ayed Al-Shwailki, and Ahmad Jaradat, and questioning them on their work, coverage of the activities and events taking place in the City of Jerusalem where they live and work, detaining the staff of the Syrian News TV Channel including the reporter Jeries Khalil Azer, and his coworker, the cameraman Mutasem Saqf Al-Hait, and deleting materials from Mutasem’s cell phone, removing the journalist Sondos Abdelrahman Owais from Al-Aqsa Mosque for three months, targeting the journalists Hassan Abdelfattah Islaih, Ashraf Abu Amra and Mohammad Al-Mashharawi with gunshots while they were preparing reports on the wheat harvest season eastern Khan Younes, Jafar Zahed Ishtayya (metal gunshots in the thigh), Ayman Ameen Nobani (metal gunshots in the thigh), Fadi Methqal Al-Jayousi (metal gunshot in his fingers), Mujahed Al-Saadi (arrested from home – and referred later to administrative arrest for six months), Ahmad Hababah (assaulted and arrested, not to mention his cell phone was smashed), Ameen Ibrahim Mohammad Naifah (detained and his camera memory was seized), detaining four other journalists of his colleagues and preventing them from coverage: Sulaiman Mahmoud Abu Srour, Omar Ahmad Abu Awad, Mohammad Jawad Zaghab, and Adel Ibrahim Abu Nima while they were heading to a peaceful sit-in in the Valleys, detaining Al-Ghad TV staff including the reporter Raed Mohammad Sameer Al-Sharif, the cameraman Jameel Hashem Salhab, and WAFA Agency cameraman Mashhour Hassan Wahwah and preventing them from covering a peaceful sit-in against settlement in Susia, southern Yatta, preventing Palestine TV staff and journalists: Reuters cameraman Adel Abu Nima, WAFA cameraman Sulaiman Mahmoud Abu Srour, and the cameraman Mohammad Jawad Zaab from accessing Arab Al-Mlehat area northern Jericho to cover a peaceful sit-in there, preventing five media staffs and journalists to cover the clashes taking place at Jericho city southern entrance and threatening them with arrest: the freelance cameraman Mahran Sulaiman Barham Barahma, WAFA cameraman Sulaiman Abu Srour, the cameraman Mohammad Jawad Zaghab, the cameraman Mutasem Sameer Saqf Al-Hait (37 years old), and Palestine TV staff including the cameraman Omar Ahmad Abu Awad, the journalist Fathi Khalil Barahma, Mahran Sulaiman Barahma and Mutasem Saqf Al-Hait (prevented from coverage), and Zaidan Zakaria Al-Razem, Abdelrahman Mahmoud Al-Qasem, Salama Mohammad Sataria, and the journalists Doaa Al-Damnahouri, and Nidal Abdelmajeed Fatafta (prevented from coverage), in addition to smashing the glass of journalist Zeidan Al-Razem’s vehicle and drowning it with sewage water by the soldiers, preventing the journalists Mohammad Ali Turkman, Mohammad Jreir Hamdan, Mohammad Hammoud Turkman and Issam Al-Rimawi from covering the demolition of a house in Betunia and targeting them to keep them away from the event, issuing tickets by the Israeli police to the journalists Nasser Sulaiman Ishatayya and Shadi Jarar’a claiming they did not wear the mask during a march against the settlement, imposing traffic ticket on Mohammad Ishtayya claiming he parked his vehicle on the yellow line next to the street during the same march.

It should be mentioned that preventing the journalists and media staffs while covering peaceful events and protests organized during this month in the Valleys specifically happened more than once. For example, Palestine TV staff was prevented from coverage three times at least, while Mahmoud Abu Srour was prevented four times, and Mohammad Zaghab was prevented five times from covering separated peaceful events which what other journalists and media outlets were subject to.

Palestinian Violations:

The number of Palestinian violations documented during June hit the same rates, as 9 Palestinian violations were documented, 7 of which have taken place in Gaza Strip while 2 in the West Bank.

The Palestinian violations included arresting the journalist Mohammad Allouh from his house claiming he filmed an assault against an old woman who said that she was assaulted by the Police in Gaza, he was summoned and questioned on this case the day following his release, arresting the journalist Tawfiq Abu Jarad for two days by the Internal Security Services of Hamas Government in Gaza, on the background of covering activities and events of Fateh in Gaza Strip, he was summoned and questioned twice after he was released, the journalist Hajar Harb was subject to incitement on the Facebook prejudicing her on the background of a comment she posted about the statement of the spokesperson of the Military Wing of Hamas, summoning the cameraman Ihab Omar Fasfous by the Internal Security in Khan Younes and questioning him, arresting the journalist Sami Al-Sae by the Palestinian Security in Tulkarem in accordance with the Cybercrime Law claiming he has something to do with a Facebook page that posts pictures and comments of defamation and incitement (a release decision on judicial guarantee was issued on Wednesday corresponding 1st July 2020, 22 days following his arrest).

In addition, the car of journalist Nadia Harhash, was burned, by unknown persons, while she was parked in front of her house.

 

Details of Violations:

(3rd June) The Israeli occupation forces summoned four journalists while they were covering a sit-in protesting against the removal of Sheikh Akrama Sabri from Al-Aqsa Mosque, questioned them on their press work, and the coverage of the events and activities in Jerusalem.

According to MADA researcher, a sit-in was taking place in Al-Sowanah Neighborhood in Jerusalem on 3rd June 2020, to protest against the removal of Al-Aqsa Mosque orator, Sheikh Akrama Sabri, by the occupation authorities. Many media outlets went to cover the sit-in, and in the meantime the police and security officers raided the area, and handed over four of the demonstrators and journalists summoning orders for questioning, with different dates, namely: the cameraman Ahmad Othman Ahmad Jalajil (40 years old), a freelance journalist from Jerusalem and works for several institutions, Al-Jazeera TV cameraman Murad Mohammad Farouq Isaid (47 years old), from Beit Hanina in Jerusalem, the reporter of Al-Arabi TV Ahmad Nayef Hammad Jaradat (29 years old), from Al-Tour, Jerusalem, Russia Today TV cameraman, Ashraf Ayed Dawoud Al-Shwaiki, from Silwan, in Jerusalem.

At 10:00AM, the following morning (Thursday corresponding 4 June 2020), Isaid went to “Room 4” for questioning purposes at Al-Mascobbiya Center, where he waited for two hours until was summoned to an investigation session that lasted 20 minutes only (between 11:50 until 12:10PM). The investigator started the session by addressing him “Why don’t I see you or know you?” he continued by inquiring about his present workplace and where does he see himself in ten years? Then moved on to ask him about the journalists he knows and how do they pass information about the events and their locations, and why wasn’t he present a few days earlier in another sit-in organized in front of the “Orient House” in commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the death of Faisal Al-Husseini, on Sunday, May 31, 2020. He was also questioned about the “PA” party he works for which was denied by journalist Isaid, and then he was allowed to leave.

Upon summoning him, the journalist Jaradat, arrived at 4:00PM, on Thursday, corresponding 4th June 2020 to the Investigation Center. His questioning lasted only for ten minutes where he was questioned about his whereabouts (while he was covering the aforementioned sit-in) and how he received information about this protest and its date. He answered that he knew about the incident by chance when he was coming back to his office at Al-Tour from a fieldwork, noticed the gathering, and stopped to film it.

As for the journalist Al-Shwaiki (based on the summons), he arrived at 4:00PM on Sunday corresponding 7th June 2020, to Room $ for investigation, where he waited for 15 minutes until the investigation started and lasted for half an hour. The investigator asked him about the journalists he knows and about the way of circulating news in the field, as well as about the type of reports they make when covering the events. He mainly focused on asking him about the journalists he knows, how he knows them, how he knows about the events and activities taking place in Jerusalem.

Based on the summons, Jalajil went to Al-Masccobiya Investigation Center in Jerusalem, at 12:00PM, on 10th June 2020. Half an hour later, he was questioned about his presswork of covering different events taking place in Jerusalem. He was also questioned about his role in broadcasting news about the activities of Jerusalemite institutions, especially those funded by the Palestinian National Authority, which is prohibited and not allowed by Israel in Jerusalem. However, journalist Jalajil replied that he has been covering the political, artistic, and cultural news of Jerusalem and the different institutions there for more than 20 years, and that this is his job. The Israeli investigator threatened him that he will make every possible effort to take his Israeli press card, noting that Israel does not recognize any other cards. He addressed Jalajil and told him that he is able to suspend him from work permanently and prosecute him. The investigator told him that he is not allowed to cover the news of Palestinian institutions which Israel considers supported by the Palestinian Authority. At around 4:00PM, Jalajil was released even though he refused to sign the statement of the investigation he was subject to.

 

(3rd June) The Israeli occupation soldiers detained the Syrian News TV staff after they prepared a report on the demolition of tents in a Bedouin cluster in Jericho by the occupation forces, and they deleted some of the material that was filmed.

 According to MADA researcher, the Syrian New TV staff, including the reporter Jeries Khaleel Dawoud Azer (30 years old), and the cameraman Mutasem Sameer Hamdi Saqf Al-Hait (30 years old) were heading to Deir Hejla, eastern Jericho (Al-Dawahik Cluster) to make a TV report on the demolition of the village tents by the occupation forces and their attempts to evacuate the population. After they were done filming, they left the cluster and moved away by 200 meters. An Israeli occupation army patrol stopped them, and the soldiers asked them about their connection with the Bedouin cluster. Jeries and Mutasem replied that they are journalists and they went there to make a report. The soldiers seized their cards and asked them to follow them and drove towards the Bedouin Cluster. When they arrived, the soldiers detained them claiming they have filmed in a banned area and told them that they will released only if they delete the material. The journalists replied that they were only doing their job and they have the right to film in their capacity as journalists. One hour and a half later, their IDs were given back to them and the material that was filmed on Mutasem’s cell phone was deleted but the material on the camera was not. They were released two hours later of being detained.

 

(5th June) The Israeli occupation soldiers have arrested the cameraman of Palestine TV Ahmad Hababa after assaulting him on his way back to Beit Iksa, northwest Jerusalem, where he lives.

According to MADA researcher, at around 4:30PM, on Friday, 5th June 2020, the journalist Ahmad Kamal Hassan Hababa (28 years old), from Beit Iksa, northwest Jerusalem, works at the photography section in Palestine TV, on his way back to his house located in Beit Iksa via his vehicle, through the military barrier established by the Israeli army at its entrance connected with Bido (Ras Bido[1]), the soldiers stopped him, started stalling him and even allowed for the other vehicles behind him to pass. It should be noted that this isn’t the first time he is being provoked by the soldiers who deliberately stall him and harass him by making things up. Hababa pulled out his cell phone to film the soldiers’ harassments, a female soldier approached him and asked another soldier to stand behind him to take his cell phone. They seized his cell phone and smashed it, then handcuffed him, and took him to a private room. They took him in the police vehicle to Ofer Prison, near Ramallah, where he stayed handcuffed for four hours and was subject to repeated assaults and beatings. Then he was taken to the investigation and promised him that he can ask a lawyer to come. His indictment was given to him in Hebrew, which he cannot understand and could not comprehend but one charge that said “assaulting the soldiers”. He remained in detention until 12:00 midnight. An application on his trail at Ofer prison was submitted on the morning of Thursday corresponding 17th Dec. 2020. He asked them to take him back to the place he was arrested from at the barrier because his wallet and money remained in the vehicle and he does not have any money to call a taxi to come and pick him up. They refused and took him to Qalandia barrier, 9 kilometers away from the place he was arrested in and his place of residence in Beit Iksa. He could not but wait in the road until he found someone to help him to go back home in Beit Iksa. Some photos shared on Facebook show the bruises on his body when he was assaulted the moment he was arrested.

 

(6th June) The Israeli occupation authorities removed the journalist Sondos Abdelrahman Owais (23 years old) from Al-Aqsa Mosque for three months claiming “she causes riot” in the Mosque.

According to MADA researcher, the occupation police, on 31st May 2020, stopped Sondos Abdelrahman Owais (23 years old), a freelance journalist from Jerusalem, while she was covering the re-opening of Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers after the closure that lasted for 69 days, as part of the preventive measures taken to restrict the outbreak of Corona Virus. They took her to Al-Yaho Police Center at Alsilsila Gate, Jerusalem, where she was given a removal order from Al-Aqsa Mosque for a week, provided she shall go to the Police Center again on Saturday (corresponding 6th June 2020). Indeed, she arrived at 9:15AM on Saturday 6th June 2020 to Al-Yaho Police Center, at Alsilsila Gate, where she was not allowed to enter. An officer gave her an order of removal from Al-Aqsa Mosque, and when Sondos asked about the type of paper he gave her, he answered: it is a removal order from Al-Aqsa Mosque for three months, and that this decision was ready the moment she was arrested a week ago and that she must not access Al-Aqsa Moaque squares, its gates, arcades, and the roads leading to the Mosque.

 

(6th June) The Israeli occupation forces have fired live bullets at a number of Palestinian journalists while they were preparing a press report on the Wheat Harvest season, eastern Khan Younes, Gaza Strip.

According to MADA researcher, the journalists: the freelance cameraman Hasan Abdelfattah Islaih (33 years old), Ashraf Abu Amra (APA) Agency cameraman, Mohammad Al-Mashharawi (Sky News Arabia Reporter), and his coworker the cameraman Ayman Al-Rozi, have arrived eastern Khuza’a, at around 10:20AM, on Saturday 6th June 2020, via a jeep that was marked in both Arabic and English “Press” to prepare a report on the wheat harvest season. They specifically arrived at a wheat field in an area known as “Jakar street”, 300 meters away from the (border) separation fence, eastern Khuza’a, carrying cameras and filming equipment. Ten minutes after they started filming seven workers in the wheat field, at around 10:30AM, they saw some Israeli soldiers on a sandhill on the other side of the separation fence. The soldiers started firing gunshots at them, without prior alarm, which forced the journalists to lie on the ground. Fifteen minutes later (at around 10:45AM), they were able to get out and leave the area to their Jeep. They had to move away and film from another location in town that was 700 meters away from the separation fence.

 

(9th June) Some officers of the Preventive Security have arrested Sami Saed Al-Sae, from Tulkarem, and detained him for three weeks.

According to MADA researcher, a force of the Preventive Security has arrested, at around 7:00PM, on Tuesday (9th June 2020) Sami Saed Abdelsae, an independent journalist and a field researcher for MADA, while he was at his mother’s juice shop, at Jamal Abdelnasser Square, central Tulkarem City. The moment he was arrested, the security officer seized his cell phone, and at midnight that day, his wife learned of his arrest and was shocked with posts she saw on the social media about arresting someone who is managing a Facebook page called “Bint Tulkarem” that aroused indignation among citizens because of the scandalous defamatory material it posts. Two days following his arrest (Thursday morning 11th June 2020), Sami was transferred to Tulkarem Magistrate Court, and the Preventive Security Services informed the Public Prosecution officially that the investigation was over with Sami Al-Sae. However, the Prosecution decided to extend his arrest for 15 days claiming they need to complete the investigation for the charge of publishing news and information in violation of the Cybercrime Law through “Bint Tulkarem” Page. On a phone call, Sami informed his family on the same day (11th June 2020) that the police has officially informed him that General Investigations wants to question him and that he is accused of running a Facebook page called “Bint Tulkarem”. He denied these charges, and he was transferred to the prison at Tulkarem Police directorate. On Friday corresponding 12th June 2020, Sami’s wife and his mother were allowed to visit him. He expressed to them his fears of being subject to physical assault and psychological pressure to get a confession from him. He told them that he has not been questioned as of the moment he had been at the Police Directorate and that he was only questioned about what happened at the Preventive Security headquarters and it was done by a committee composed of the Preventive Security and the General Investigations. On Tuesday, 15th June 2020, Sami was visited by his wife, his health condition was good, but his psychological condition was bad. He informed her that he was going on a food strike. On Thursday 17th June 2020, MADA Lawyer visited Sami and learned he was on a food strike and taken to a solitary cell. On the same day, his wife visited him, in coordination with the lawyer, and asked him to stop his strike, and he responded. On Sunday 21st June 2020, the Preventive Security officers arrived to Sami’s house with a search warrant. They searched the house, seized the cell phones of some family members, an old computer, a laptop that belongs to Sami, and two tablets, one for the wife and another for his children, an old Nokia, and a new mi6. On Monday 22nd June 2020, Tulkarem Magistrate Court denied MADA’s lawyer request to release him, noting that it was the 8th request the lawyer has filed and was denied since the decision of extending his detention for 15 days was issued. On Thursday 25th June 2020, Tulkarem Magistrate Court again extended his detention for another seven days, noting that the Prosecution has requested to extend his detention for 15 days. After that, MADA’s lawyer filed for three requested for his release on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday corresponding 28th, 29th, and 30th June 2020. The first two requests were denied and the third will receive a response on Wednesday 1st July 2020, which is the last day of his detention after being extended for the second time.

 

(12th June) Three journalists were injured with three bullets by the Israeli occupation army while they were covering the weekly march protesting against the settlement in Kufr Qadoum, Qalqilya.

According to MADA researcher, the journalists: the French Agency cameraman Jafar Zahed Hussein Shtayyah (51 years old), WAFA Agency cameraman Ayman Ameen Ibrahim Nobani (34 years old), and Palestine TV cameraman Fadi Methqal Fayez Al-Jayousi (40 years old) who was injured by a metal bullet in his right-hand fingertips, have all arrived in the afternoon, on Friday 12th May 2020, to Kufr Qadoum, eastern Qalqilya, to cover the weekly march, organized after Friday prayers regularly since 9 years, to protest against the settlement and demand to open the main entrance closed by the occupation army for the interest of the settlers. The three journalists, along with another number of journalists who have arrived to the town wearing the Press uniform (the blue helmet and vest marked PRESS), were getting ready to start filming the march that started as usual after the prayers. When the demonstrators started getting closer to the closed street, at a distance of 200 meters away from it, the soldiers started suppressing the march by firing rubber-coated metal bullets at the demonstrators. In the meantime, the cameraman Ayman Al-Nobani was standing at an equal distance approximately away from the soldiers and demonstrators. There were three other journalists near him while the soldiers were firing bullets resulting in the injury of Ayman with rubber-coated metal bullet in the right thigh, even though he was 100 meters away from the soldiers at that moment. The moment he was injured, some demonstrators rushed and took him to the ambulance that was parked 200 meters away. He received the necessary aid but had to stop working due to the severe pain he was feeling. While the cameraman Ayman Al-Nobani was receiving the aid, the French Agency cameraman Jafar Shtayya was injured by a metal bullet in the left thigh, by the soldiers who were barricading inside water well on the closed road 500 meters away from the central village. The soldiers asked him to move back while he was moving forward to cover the events. Even when he responded and immediately moved back, one of the soldiers fired metal bullet at his left thigh. As a result, the clashes erupted between the demonstrators and the occupation soldiers who stormed the town firing metal bullets and gas bombs, which forced the demonstrators to move back towards the central town. While Palestine TV Fadi Al-Jayousi was filming the events standing in one of the towns’ alleys 300 meters away from the occupation soldiers, close to the demonstrators, he pointed his camera at the soldier to film him, but the later soon fired metal bullet at him injuring his right hand fingers. He received the field medical aid, but his fingers swollen as a result of the injury.

 

(12th June) The Israeli occupation forces detained 5 journalists after seizing their cards and the camera memory of one of them. They interrupted their work while they were preparing a documentary and covering a peaceful march in Al-Zubaidat Village, Central Valleys.

According to MADA researcher, the freelance journalist Ameen Ibrahim Mohammad Naifa (32 years old), from Tulkarem, has arrived at 12:20PM, on Friday 12th June 2020, along with the Producer Ahmad Al-Biz, to Al-Zubaidat Village, central valleys, to complete a documentary he is preparing on the Valleys for “Russia Today” TV, under a commission from the TV. Several press staffs coming from Jericho have arrived to the same Village whose population were about to organize a march after Friday prayers. Before Naifa and his colleague arrived  at the Village, a military barrier established by the occupation soldiers at Al-Hamra conjunction in the Valleys stopped them, their IDs were checked and they were asked where they were going and whether they were going to Al-Zubaidat Village, but they told the soldiers they were heading to Jericho. Fifteen minutes later, they allowed them to keep going their own way. After Friday prayers, Al-Zubaidat village population launched the peaceful march towards the main street where the occupation soldiers established barriers near the village entrances. Soon after the march was launched, the occupation forces started suppressing the demonstrators by firing sound bombs at them, while three male soldiers and four female soldiers stopped all the press staffs which were covering the march, asked them for their press cards and seized them. This included the journalists: Sulaiman Mahmoud Sulaiman Abu Srour (48 years old) works for WAFA News Agency, the journalist Mohammad Jawad Issa Zaghab who works for Dunia Al-Watan Agency, journalist Omar Ahmad Hassan Abu Awad who works for Palestine TV, journalist Adel Ibrahim Abu Nima who works for Reuters Agency, and the freelance journalist Ibrahim Mohammad Naifa. After seizing their press cards, at around 1:45PM, one of the soldiers asked all of the journalists to leave and move away. Journalist Sulaiman Abu Srour asked for his press card that was seized, but the soldier refused to respond to him and started pushing him to the back and even threatened him with arrest. A group of demonstrators pulled Sulaiman to the back, Abu Srour was not wearing the Press uniform. At around 2:00PM, one of the Israeli police officers returned the cards to the journalists and asked them to leave, and they immediately left the Village, except for the journalist Ameen Ibrahim Mohammad Naifa who was waiting for his colleague Ahmad Al-Biz, in a location relatively far from the demonstrators’ gathering to bring their vehicle. When one of the soldiers approached the journalist Naifa, and asked him for his personal identity card and press card, Naifa showed him a letter issued by “Russia Today” TV clarifying that he is a journalist working on producing documentaries. However, the soldier did not actually care and told him that he was “arrested” and even seized his camera. He also started pushing him towards the military jeep and addressed him “tonight you’re coming with me and you’re sleeping in a very nice place” referring to thr prison of course, and detained him next to the military jeep.  45 minutes later of being detained there, the soldiers gave him back his card and camera after they seized the memory card where the filmed material is saved. He was released without his camera memory card.

 

(June) Facebook Company Administration has closed the account of journalist Sari Jaradat (33 years old), 7 times since the beginning of May in 2020.

According to MADA researcher, Facebook Administration has closed the page of Al-Mayaden TV reporter, journalist Sari Sharif Abdelghaffar Jaradat (33 years old), for the 7th time in a row, since the beginning of May 2020. The closure of accounts belonging to Jaradat started after the suspension of journalist Iyad Hamad, the cameraman of Associated Press World Agency (which, according to Hamad and the Agency, occurred based on a complaint filed against him at the Palestinian Police). The journalist Jaradat contacted Facebook Company several times and received a message stating that there is a room for governments in all countries to suspend accounts for people that are considered to violate the standards and policies. Jaradat also contacted the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology in Palestine, and he was informed to file an application at the Palestinian Syndicate of Journalists and to the Ministry to follow up with his matter. However, he did not receive any positive response on this regard. During that period, Jaradat tried to create a new account on Facebook through different internet service providers but soon the account was deleted without any alarming messages.

 

(18th June) The Internal Security of Hamas in Gaza arrested the journalist Tawfiq Abu Jarad on the background of covering some activities and events of Fateh in Gaza Strip.

According to MADA researcher, on Thursday, corresponding 18th June 2020, the journalist Tawfiq Abdelaziz Mohammad Abu Jarad (38 years old), was summoned and called to come to the Internal Security headquarters on Sunday morning (21st June 2020). Two hours later after his summons, a police vehicle came to his house to inform him that he has to immediately come to the Internal Security headquarters but he was not home then. Two hours later, the security officers came back to his house but he was not home either. He came back home later on that day and learned that the security officers asked about him. He went by himself to the Internal Security headquarters northern Gaza Strip, where his cell phone was seized as well as his personal card. He was transferred to a cell without any questioning until Saturday evening on 20th June 2020 when he was released provided he shall come the following day (Sunday 21st June) at 8:00AM. Accordingly, on Sunday morning he went to the headquarters and was questioned at 11:00AM for an hour. The questions were about his coverage of marches and events related to Fateh, and his Facebook posts about the political situation in general. After his questioning ended, he was taken to the cell where he remained in detention until 5:00PM, when he was released and was informed again to come to the Internal Security Center on Tuesday 23rd June 2020. At 9:00AM. On Tuesday morning, Abu Jarad arrived at the headquarters northern Gaza Strip, and he was taken immediately to the Investigation Room. At around 10:30AM, he was questioned about the content on his cell phone seized by the Internal Security, which includes images of events and an interview he conducted with a leader of Fateh Movement Fayez Abi Aita. At around 3:00PM on the same day, the Internal Security officers gave him his cell phone and personal card, and then he was released.

 

(19th June) The Israeli occupation forces detained three journalists and interrupted their work while they were covering a peaceful march in Susia, southern Yatta.

According to MADA researcher, at around 12:00PM, on Friday 19th June 2020, the journalists: Al-Ghad Al-Arabi TV reporter, Raed Mohammad Sameer Al-Shareef (30 years old), the cameraman Jameel Hashem Salhab (28 years old), and WAFA Agency cameraman Mashhour Hassan Mahmoud Al-Wahwah (36 years old), have arrived at Susia Village, southern Yatta, Hebron, to cover Friday prayers that was taking place outdoors to express diatribes against the decision of the occupation authorities on annexing parts of the lands of the West Bank in the beginning of July this year. The moment the three journalists arrived at the location, there were forces of the occupation army that has arrived at the village, and approached the gathering of citizens. Two soldiers approached the three journalists and asked for their personal identity cards for security check as the officer claimed, and they were prevented from filming for 10 minutes until their IDs were checked. After the prayers ended, the soldiers prevented the three soldiers to film the peaceful demonstration and tried to remove them from the location. They even disrupted their movement continuously to prevent them from covering the events while one of the officers was demanding them to leave the location. Before the demonstration ended, the journalists left the location for fear of being assaulted again especially that a group of settlers have arrived at the location.

 

(19th June) The Israeli occupation forces prevented several journalists and media outlets to access Arab Al-Malihat, northern Jericho to cover a peaceful sit-in that was taking place there to protest again Israel endeavors to annex parts of the West Bank.

According to MADA researcher, the journalists: Reuters cameraman Adel Ibrahim Abu Nima (52 years old), the photojournalist Mohammad Jawad Zaghab, and WAFA Agency cameraman Sulaiman Mahmoud Sulaiman Abu Srour, via Abu Nima’s vehicle, at around 10:50AM, on 19th June 2020, were heading to cover a peaceful protest Fateh has called for as well as Jericho and the Valleys Governorate in Arab Al-Malihat area to protest against the annexation plan of Israel with American support. When the journalists arrived at Al-Auja entrance, adjacent to Jericho, the occupation soldiers stopped them at the military barrier they established there, noting their vehicle was not marked PRESS. One of the soldiers asked them where they were going, and they informed him that they were heading to Al-Auja spring. The soldier searched the vehicle, and when he saw the filming equipment and the cameras, he learned they were journalists, and asked for their IDs. He asked the journalist Abu Nima to turn off the vehicle’s engine and indeed he responded. Half an hour later, the soldier gave them back their cards and ordered them to go back to Jericho claiming “this is a military closed area and they have to go back to Jericho”. The three journalists returned to Jericho and the same happened with the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation that was in the Corporation’s vehicle behind them. After they came back to Jericho, the journalists had to take a bumpy road with the help of a young man that has an SUV to reach the location of peaceful protest in Arab Al-Malihat. The protest was covered quietly without any clashes given the location (threatened to be annexed along with other broad areas) is far away from any contact with the Israeli army.

 

(19th June) A police force in Gaza arrested the journalist Mahmoud Allouh from his house claiming he filmed an old lady being assaulted in Bureij allegedly by the Police.

According to MADA researcher, three persons have arrived between 4:30PM – 5:00PM, on Friday afternoon, corresponding 19th June 2020, to the house of Mahmoud Omar Allouh (30 years old), the presenter of programs and the reporter of Sawt Al-Shaab Radio, located in Al-Da’wa area, Al-Nusairat, without even searching the house, and without introducing themselves except being police officers. They arrested the journalist Allouh after seizing his cell phone, and took him to Al-Nusairat Police Center. The moment he arrived at the center, all of his belongings were seized and he was taken to a cell and reported to be arrested for investigation purposes (higher authorities’ decisions). He remained detained in the cell for an hour and a half, and then he was transferred by bus to “Al-Breish” Police Center, where he was taken to a small cell. After that, he was taken to the Investigations and questioned about filming the incident in Bureij about the citizen Om Jabr Washah who was assaulted. He was accused of filming her and taking her to the hospital which he denied and said “even if this happened, then I have only documented the incident as a journalist, but I never was there, so I did not document anything”. At 11:30PM on the same day he was arrested, after the contributions of several authorities (Independent Commission for Human Rights, the Popular Front, Sawt Al-Shaab Radio for which he works) he was released provided he shall come back the following morning, Saturday 20th June 2020. Indeed, he went to Al-Nusairat Center at around 10:00AM, and he was questioned again about Bureij incident and filming Om Jabr Washah. One hour later, at around 11:00PM, he was allowed to leave the center.

 

(22nd June) The Israeli occupation forces prevented a number of journalists and media outlets to cover a demonstration and events that have taken place at the southern entrance of Jericho as part of Palestinian protests against the Israeli endeavors to annex the Valleys.

According to MADA researcher, a group of journalists have arrived between 7:00PM – 7:30PM on 22nd June 2020 to the Israeli military barrier located at Jericho southern entrance after they learned about the demonstration of dozens of young men who were throwing stones at the occupation soldiers. These journalists were: the freelance journalists Mahran Sulaiman Barham Barahma (32 years old), WAFA Agency cameraman Sulaiman Mahmoud Abu Srour (38 years old), Pal News Agency cameraman Mohammad Jawad Zaghab (38 years old), the cameraman Mutasem Sameer Saqf Al-Hait (37 years old), and Palestine TV staff: the cameraman Omar Ahmad Abu Awad, the journalist Fathi Khalil Barahma, and the vehicle’s driver Samer Asad Abu Salman. Soon, the journalists started covering the clashes until the soldiers ordered them to leave the area claiming it is a closed military zone. When the journalists started leaving, the soldiers took advantage of them and used them as “shield” to cover themselves from the stones. One of the soldiers intentionally fired a gas bomb at journalist Abu Srour but did not injure him, not to mention threatening him with arrest by the soldiers if he does not leave the location immediately. Furthermore, the journalist Mohammad Zaghab was threatened and pushed by the soldiers and so Saqf Al-Hait and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation vehicle driver was forced to leave before being detained after the TV staff was prevented to cover the events that have taken place after the popular festival in which Palestinian officials and diplomats have taken part against the annexation of the valleys that have taken place earlier that day.

 

(24th June) The Israeli occupation forces have prevented a number of journalists to access Fasayel Village, in the central valleys, to cover a festival that was taking place there, in support for the Valleys population and in denial of the Israeli plan of annexation.

According to MADA researcher, Zeidan Zakaria Mohammad Al-Razem (41 years old), a freelance journalist, the reporter for WAFA News Agency in Jericho Abdelrahman Mahmoud Saleh Al-Qasem, the journalist Doaa Mazen Jaber Al-Damnahouri (29 years old), works at the Media Department in Jericho, the freelance journalist Nidal Abdelmajeed Ahmad Fatafah, and the freelance journalist Salamah Mohammad Salamah Sataria (31 years old), were heading, at around 3:00PM, on 24th June 2020, via the vehicle of journalist Zeidan Al-Razem, to Fasayel Village, next to Jericho, to cover a meeting of the Council of Ministers and the PLO Executive Committee, that was announced to take place there, to be followed by a festival to protest against the Israeli plan of annexing the valleys area. When the journalists arrived to Jericho northern entrance, the Israeli Occupation forces established a military barrier at the city entrance, and saw dozens of vehicles in front of them at the barrier as the soldiers were stopping all of the vehicles, to check the identity cards of all passengers. When their turn came, one of the soldiers asked them for their personal identity cards, and saw the cameras with them, he said to them “Palestine TV going to Fasayel, turn around and go back”. Zeidan tried to convince them that they were not Palestine TV, however the soldier insisted they go back to Jericho. As a result, the journalists went to the other entrance of Jericho, connecting to Al-Auja, but found out that the Israeli Occupation army has established a barrier there as well. The soldiers prevented them to pass and forced them to go back to Jericho. Therefore, they went to King Hussein Bridge area known as (The Yellow Gate) to be able to access the event location (they arrived there at 4:25PM). At 6:10PM, Zeidan and Nidal decided to leave and go back to Jericho City. When they approached their vehicle parked near the Local Council, they saw a group of young men throwing stones at a force of the occupation army that arrived at the village, while the soldiers were using a vehicle dedicated for spraying the Palestinian demonstrators with sewage. The soldiers were deliberately spraying the sewage water at the vehicle of Zeidan holding plate No. (9.4076.94) and smashed the back glass of the vehicle and thus drowned it with sewage water (while Zeidan and Fatafta were approaching the vehicle). They had to go back to Jericho to go through a quick cleaning operation causing suffocation to journalist Fatafta. She was treated in the field by her colleagues and was not taken to medical center.

At 4:20PM on the same day, the Israeli occupation forces also prevented the journalist Mohammad Jawad Issa Zaghab (32 years old) the cameraman of PalNews Agency, to access Fasayel to cover the event, and ordered him to go back when he arrived at the barrier at the northern entrance of Jericho. Mohammad could not reach the event location he was heading to cover.

 

(24th June) A force of the Israeli occupation army, at 3:00AM, on 24th June 2020, has stormed the house of journalist Mujahed Mohammad Saed Saadi (32 years old), located in Al-Saadah Neighborhood, Jenin, a freelance journalist who was arrested without searching his house. They only entered the living room. Mujahed asked them to let him wear his clothes, and they asked him to bring along his identity card and his cellphone. They took him to an unknown place. On 28th June 2020, the Red Crescent informed his family (as his wife, Raya Imad Husni Zakarnah, stated) that the army moved Al-Saadi to Howarah Military Camp, southern Nablus, and that he will be brought before trial on Tuesday (corresponding 30th June 2020), and on that day he was transferred to administrative arrest for six months and his family did not know why was he arrested or what is he accused of or what is condition in detention.

 

(24th June) The Israeli occupation forces targeted four journalists by firing rubber bullets, sound and tear gas bombs at them while they were covering the demolition of a house under construction in Betunia, western Ramallah.

According to MADA researcher, a huge force of the occupation army, accompanied with three bulldozers, raided, at around 6:00AM, on 24th June 2020, the southern area of Betunia, surrounded the area and started the demolition of a house that was still under construction. The house belongs to the citizen Abdelaziz Froukh, and they claimed it was not licensed. A number of journalists went to cover the demolition, and while they were filming the event that lasted three hours, the occupation soldiers prevented them to approach the house and cover the demolition. They threatened them with arrest if they would not move away and leave the area. They even fired tear gas bombs, sound bombs and rubber bullets at them more than once, especially in the moment when the army was withdrawing from the area after completing the demolition at around 9:00AM. This assault and prevention from coverage was against the journalists: Mohammad Jreir Hamdan (30 years old), from the Public Relations Department at the Colonization & Wall Resistance Commission, Reuters Cameraman Mohammad Ali Turkman (50 years old), G-Media Agency cameraman Mohammad Hamoud Turkman (22 years old), and the cameraman Issam Huda Al-Rimawi (36 years old).

 

(28th June) The Internal Security Services in Gaza summoned the cameraman Omar Fasfous and questioned him about his comments on the Facebook.

According to MADA researcher, Ihab Omar Yousef Fasfous (46 years old), from Khan Younes, a freelance journalist, at around 11:00PM, on Thursday corresponding 25th June 2020, received a summons from the Internal Security Services in Khan Younes, through a security officer in civilian clothing that showed up to his house. The summons was headed “Summons to Testify” asking him to come to the Internal Security headquarters in Khan Younes, at 9:00AM, on Sunday, corresponding 28th June 2020. Indeed, Fasfous responded to the summons and went to the Internal Security on the said day. The moment he arrived, before going to the investigation session, one of the security officers asked him to hand over his cell phone and open his Facebook account. Indeed, he gave them his cell phone and shared his Facebook data. In the meantime, the security officer addressed him “every time you show up here, you cause troubles …”. Fasfous replied “what are the troubles I caused so we can discuss them” but the security officer did not answer him. When he entered the investigation room, one person only met him, and started questioning him by asking him whether he knows why he was summoned. Fasfous replied “I came to testify as the summons dais”, the investigator replied “no, you are here because you’re active, you liked the Israeli Coordinator Facebook Page, and commented on one of his posts saying (take the dollars but give us peace)”. However, Fasfous denied this, and the investigator replied that he is a journalist and can follow any page he wants but not an Israeli. He asked the investigator to prove what he claimed earlier but the investigator replied “I have a report in my hands that proves you have shown activity on the Coordinator’s page”. Again, Fasfous denied and demanded to see the proof, the investigator replied “you might have done it by mistake”. The investigation with Fasfous lasted for 45 minutes. He was then asked to leave the investigation room, but stayed in detention until 2:00PM when a security officer handed him his cell phone and allowed him to leave.

 

(26th June) The journalist, Hajar Mohammad Harb, was subject to incitement through the social media “Facebook” on the background of commenting on the statement of Hamas Military Wing spokesperson.

According to MADA researcher, the journalist Hajar Mohammad Ibrahim Harb (26 years old), from Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, currently in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for treatment purposes, was surprised that she was subject to incitement on the Facebook, even inciting to kill her, on the background of a post on Facebook, she shared commenting on the statement of Abu Obaida, Al-Qassam Brigades Spokesperson, Hamas Military Wing. Her post read “let us all agree that we are emotional, we have great capability to be influenced in the moment, but we a fish-memory. Announcing war will not change the Annexation decision at all, we are the first and last loser in this, this is what the logic says. Therefore, we should avoid such war instead of seeking to cause one or even suggest that it might be the best choice”. As a result, someone named “Mohammad Shuqair” shared on a Facebook group called “Gaza Commercial Market” on Friday 26th June 2020 “does anybody has an RBG we can shoot the one called Hajar Harb with”. Journalist Harb considered this incitement to kill her. She found later that the account that was inciting against her was holding a fake name and she could not file an official complaint at the security authorities.

The Israeli officer went to the patrol then came back with a ticket he issued for Shadi by (200NIS) even though some of the soldiers and journalists who were near the police were not wearing masks at the moment. The same happened with the cameraman Nasser Ishtayya, as the moment he stepped out his vehicle at around 11:45PM, one of the Israeli police officers approached him and asked him about his mask, Ishatayya pointed to the press mask (the gas mask) around his neck, and pulled the other medical mask from his pocket to put it on his face. The police officer asked for his ID card, took it and went to the police vehicle. Ishatayya followed him and found out that he was issuing him a 200NIS ticket for not wearing the mask. Ishtayya told him that he was about to replace the press mask he had on his neck with the medical one he pulled from his pocket and that he had not moved that far away from his vehicle. He also told him that some of the soldiers in the area were not wearing the masks as well. The police officer replied “this is none of your business” even though he was not wearing the mask on mouth and nose, he had it around his neck. As to the cameraman Mohammad Ishtayya, he arrived at Hares Village with the cameraman Jamal Raed Jamal Hasssan (24 years old). They were prevented in the beginning from entering the village, which is why they attempted to enter from the olive fields, after parking the vehicle at the village’s entrance. When they done with covering the events, they were prevented to leave from the main entrance, they had to leave from among the houses, until they reached the main street where they were surprised with the Israeli police, and one of the police officers asked them to show the vehicle’s papers, and the driver’s license of Jamal Hassan whose driving Palestine TV vehicle. A ticket of 250 NIS was issued for him claiming the vehicle was parked next to the road above the yellow line even though it was far from the said line and “it is clearly a vexatious ticket” as they expressed “to prevent the media staffs from covering the protest”.

30th June) Unidentified people burn the car of the journalist, Nadia Harhash, while she was parked in front of her house in the town of Beit Hanina in occupied Jerusalem, in connection with what she writes about criticisms of the Palestinian public performance

According to the Mada researcher’s follow-up, at 2:45 a.m. on 06/30/2020, a masked person burned the vehicle of journalist Nadia Harhash, a Nissan type, after he broke its glass and threw two Molotov cocktails inside it, which led to set it ablaze immediately before Harhash can contact the Israeli police and fire brigade to extinguish the fire, as the surveillance cameras in Harhash's house showed. Harhash was awake at the time of the attack, as she was able to see the aggressor the moment he attacked the vehicle, which enabled her to call the police and firefighters quickly before the fire spread, expanded and caused the vehicle to explode or reach the house. The attack took from the beginning of the attacker's arrival from the side of the building until the moment he fled to the mountain opposite the building, after crossing the main street only 4 minutes. The attacker was carrying a bag containing various tools, as he quickly broke the vehicle's rear window (the seat glass behind the driver) and threw two Molotov cocktails inside it, which resulted in the burning of the car. The attacker appeared to be a young man in his thirties, and Harhash seemed certain that the reason for the attack was the articles she writes on public affairs, and on the performance of the Palestinian Authority and the inconvenience it caused (the articles) to many parties, as this attack was preceded by indirect warnings for her from official authorities, through some of her acquaintances, as she reported, because of her articles.

These warnings and threats have begun to increase and become serious since she published an article under the title "Press Briefing ... Poetry, Preaching or Responsibility?" On March 28, 2020, at "Watan" news agency in which she criticized the spokesperson for the Palestinian government. The content of these warnings was for Harhash to avoid coming to Ramallah or any area of the Palestinian Authority or being in it (She lives in Jerusalem), and she received an official and direct threat from a Palestinian security authority.

 

 

 


[1] This is the only entrance to Beit Iksa, as the second entrance was closed with gates and cannot be passed unless on foot. Beit Iksa is considered one of the isolated and besieged cities as it is located outside the borders outlined for Jerusalem City and within the West Bank. Entering and leaving Beit Iksa is threatening. For example, the ambulances and food supplies or even the gas vehicles cannot access unless after coordinating with the Israeli occupation authorities.