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MADA: 17 violations against media freedoms in Palestine during September

Ramallah- (11/10/2021)- September 2021 witnessed a decrease in the number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine, as MADA Center monitored and documented a total of 17 violations, compared to a total of 31 violations documented during the previous month of August.

The violations that were monitored during September and August were limited to Israeli and social media networks. During September, no violations were committed by Palestinian parties against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while only a single Palestinian violation was recorded during the preceding August.


Violations against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza during the last three months


Israeli violations:

During the month of September 2021, the Israeli occupation forces/authorities committed a total of 11 attacks against media freedoms in the West Bank.

All of these violations are considered among the serious attacks against journalists and media freedoms, as four journalists were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets, a fifth journalist was injured by a direct stun grenade thrown at him, two journalists were beaten while they were working, two others were arrested and a fine was imposed on one of them.

Israeli attacks included the injury of a group of journalists: photojournalist Alaa Badarneh with a metal bullet to the chest, Ashraf Abu Shaweesh with two rubber bullets, photojournalist Nasser Shtayyeh with a rubber bullet in the head, journalist Yousef Shehadeh with a rubber bullet in the foot, and Nidal Asmar Al-Natsheh with a direct stun grenade. Journalists Musab Abdel Hamid and Ibrahim Kamal al-Singlawi were also beaten, while journalist Ayman Qawariq was arrested and a fine was imposed on him, and freelance journalist Asim Mustafa al-Shannar was arrested at the Karama crossing border while he was traveling to Turkey for education purposes.

Facebook violations

During September 2021, Facebook committed five violations against Palestinian journalists, as the company closed the Facebook page of journalist Hafez Abu Sabra and his account on "Instagram". The company also imposed restrictions for several weeks on the pages of photojournalist Moaz Ibrahim and journalist Amer Abdel Hakim Abu Arafa, by preventing them from publishing on their pages. Moreover, Instagram closed the pages of the two journalists Hassan Abdel Fattah Salih, and Hisham Abu Shakra.

Violation details

(7-9) The Israeli occupation forces detained journalist Musab Abdel Hamid Tamimi while he was covering a demonstration against settlements in Masafer Yatta, South of Hebron.

Musab Abd al-Hamid Shawar Tamimi (30 years), a journalist for Al-Hadath newspaper, Radio Hebron and Al-Sanabel radio, stated that he was in the Twaneh area of Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, at eleven o'clock on Tuesday 7/9/2021 to cover a popular demonstration against settlements. While documenting the event, the occupation soldiers declared the area as “closed military zone.” The press crews there began to leave the place, and during that time they were assaulted by soldiers by being pushed, beaten and assaulted. The soldiers took the journalist Shawar to a settlement about 150m away from the place, and there he was detained for 40 minutes. During his detention, his identity card and press card were seized, he was interrogated about his place of work and with whom he works. The soldiers accused him of "being in a closed military zone" and in the meantime he was beaten and dragged. He was released on condition that he does "not enter any military zone."

(9-9) Journalist Nidal Asmar Al-Natsheh was hit with a stun grenade in the left knee while covering the clashes in the center of Hebron city.

Freelance journalist, Nidal Asmar al-Natsheh, 33 years, stated to MADA center that at almost eight o’clock in the evening of Thursday, 9/9/2021, a group of journalists were present in Bab al-Zawiya area in the center of Hebron, to cover clashes that erupted there between citizens and the occupation soldiers. During their work, the journalists took positions about 15 m from the demonstrators and about 50 m from the soldiers in order to be safe from being injured.

During the confrontations, some young men approached the army checkpoint, where the soldiers had ambushed them. The soldiers chased the young men and threw a large number of stun grenades towards the demonstrators and towards the place where the journalists gathered. As a result, journalist Nidal Al-Natsheh was injured by a stun grenade in his left knee. It exploded the moment it hit him, and he was transferred to Alia Governmental Hospital, to find that he had severe bruises, which prevented him from working for three days, as he was unable to bend his knee or walk normally.

(10-9) European Press Agency photographer, Alaa Badarneh, was wounded by a metal bullet fired by an occupation soldier, while covering a demonstration and confrontations with the Israeli occupation forces in Beita town in Nablus.

On Friday, 10/9/2021, at nearly 2:00 in the afternoon, Badarneh was covering confrontations with the occupation forces following a demonstration against settlements in the town of Beita, and while he was standing with a group of journalists far away from the clashes location, he was suddenly wounded by a metal bullet in the chest, fired by an Israeli soldier. The rubber bullet caused him bruises and severe pain in his rib cage, even though he was wearing the entire journalist’s uniform, including the protective shield, which relatively eased the severity of the injury.

Badarneh was transferred to a field hospital in the town of Beita, and during his transfer by paramedics, one of the soldiers returned and fired metal bullets at them again, which shows the occupation soldiers intention to target them.

(7-9) Instagram deleted the account of Turkish Anadolu Agency photographer, Hisham Kamel Abu Shakra, two days after the six prisoners escaped from Gilboa prison.

Photojournalist Hisham Kamel Abu Shakra, (32 years), reported that Instagram deleted his personal account two days after the escape of the six Gilboa prisoners in what is known as Operation Freedom Tunnel. Instagram cited that the reason for the deletion was a violation of the site's standards, after the photographer published several photos related to this event, including photos of escaped prisoners and others.

About 72,000 people follow Abu Shakra’s account. He tried to contact Instagram administration to restore the account, but without a response.

(10-9) Israeli occupation forces assaulted journalist, Ibrahim Al-Sinjilawi, while he was covering an incident in Jerusalem.

Ibrahim Kamal Hamad Al-Sinjilawi (27 years) reported that he arrived to the door of the council/ Bab Al Nazer (one of the doors to the Al Aqsa mosque) at around 4:15 PM on Friday the 9/10/2021 to cover the incidents taking place there following news spreading about a stabbing incident taking place (ended by the Israeli police deadly shooting Palestinian Dr. Hazem al Julani). While Al-Sinjilawi was filming the Israeli police and security forces suppressing people in the area, he was approached by one of the police forces asking him to leave the area. Even though Al-Sinjilawi presented his press card, still the police officer did not care. The police pushed him away and punched him in the right shoulder and threatened him with his gun asking him to leave the area so he left.

(11-9) Facebook company had imposed restrictions on "Radio Alam- Hebron" photographer’s Facebook page, journalist, Moaaz Ibrahim Al-Amarneh, for 30 days, and prevented him from broadcasting live videos or publishing sponsored posts during this period.

Amarneh informed Mada Center that on 11/9/2021, he published a video on his personal Facebook page of the official spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in the Gaza Strip, Abu Ubaida, in which he praised the escape of six prisoners from Gilboa prison. Two days later, the Facebook administration deleted the aforementioned video, and sent a message to journalist Amarneh stating that the video had been deleted for violating Facebook policy and standards. Amarneh was requested to answer a poll on whether he agrees to this and he answer “no”. Three days later, Amarneh received a letter from the Facebook administration informing him that his Facebook page is restricted for a period of 30 days in which he cannot broadcast live video, nor can he sponsor posts.

(13-9) Photojournalist Ashraf Mahmoud Abu Shaweesh, correspondent of "Khabar 24" agency, was wounded by two rubber bullets fired by the occupation soldiers while covering clashes at the Huwarra military checkpoint at the Southern entrance of Nablus city.

In his testimony to MADA, Abu Shaweesh (42 years old), stated that he went at about 8:00 pm on Monday, 13/9/2021 to the Hawara checkpoint area to cover clashes that erupted there between the citizens and the occupation forces after the army suppressed a march organized there in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. It turned out that the soldiers had ambushed the demonstrators, and when journalist Abu Shaweesh approached them while covering the events, they fired several rubber bullets at him at once. Journalish Shaweesh was hit by three; one hit his protective shield he was wearing while the other two hit him in the right thigh and the other one in the calf of his right leg. Abu Shaweesh received field treatment in an ambulance that was on the spot and was not required to go to the hospital.


(20-9) Facebook suspended the personal page of the Jordanian Roya TV correspondent in the West Bank, journalist Hafez Abu Sabra (34 years), and the Facebook-owned Instagram website also suspended his account on the platform on the same day.

Journalist Hafez Abu Sabra (34 years old) informed Mada Center that he was surprised at around 3:00pm on Monday, 20/9/2021, that his personal account on the social networking site Facebook was closed, and that he tried again to log in to his Facebook account, and a message appeared to him stating that "He is not eligible to use Facebook, which is unfortunately a final decision and no more information can be provided about the reason for disabling the account for safety and security reasons." At the same time, his Instagram account was also disabled, and another message appeared asking him to prove his identity, and after he sent the proof of identity, he was provided with a message stating that he should review his information.

Journalist Abu Sabra contacted the Facebook administration on Monday evening but did not receive any response.

(9-22) Photojournalist Nasser Suleiman Shtayyeh was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet while covering clashes with the Israeli army.

Nasser Shtayyeh, 50, a photographer for the American Sida agency, stated that he went on Wednesday 22/9/2021 to Deir al-Hatab town, Nablus Governorate, to cover confrontations that took place between Palestinians and the occupation soldiers, following Israeli settlement bulldozing operations that targeted their lands. The photographer, Shtayyeh, arrived to the place at seven o'clock in the evening of that day, and minutes after he started covering what was going on, was hit by a rubber-coated metal bullet fired by the soldiers at him while he was standing far from the Israeli soldiers and the demonstrators and he was wearing a press uniform. He was subsequently transferred to Rafidia Hospital.


(24-9) The Israeli occupation police arrested journalist Ayman Qawariq for two days while he was in Jerusalem. They released him after he paid a fine of one thousand shekels and imposed a ban on him from entering Jerusalem.

Ayman Faisal Qawariq, 35, who works as a correspondent for the Al-Qastal network that specializes in Jerusalem news, stated that he went at dawn on Friday 24-9-2021 to Al-Aqsa Mosque to follow the news of Jerusalem within the scope of his work. He entered the mosque from Bab Al Silsila gate and handed in his ID at the gate and received a receipt. When he returned at five o'clock in the afternoon of the same day to receive his identity and leave, one of the soldiers told him that he was arrested, and he was taken to a nearby police station. There, he remained for 20 minutes, where he was transferred from there to the Qishla investigation center, where he was detained for about five hours and was interrogated about the way he entered Al-Aqsa Mosque and why he entered, and that he is forbidden to enter Al-Aqsa without explaining to him the reasons for this ban. After that, journalist Ayman was transferred to Ofer detention center near Ramallah, and there he stayed for two nights, until five o’clock in the evening on Sunday, when a court session was held for Ayman during which it was decided to release him on a bail of 1,000 shekels and prevent him from entering Jerusalem for a full year, otherwise he will be arrested for a month, and he was released.

(25-9) The Israeli occupation authorities arrested the freelance journalist, Assem Mustafa Ali Ahmed "Al-Shannar" (25 years), at Al-Karama Crossing while he was on his way to Turkey for study purposes.

Montaser Al-Shannar, brother of journalist Assem, informed Mada Center that the family lost contact with Assem at about 9:30 am on Saturday 25/9/2021 while he was crossing through Al-Karama Crossing (the bridge). After they contacted the lawyer, it became clear to them that he had been arrested before and was transferred to the Petah Tikva interrogation center at the same day. On Wednesday 29/9/2021, a court hearing was held for journalist Assem in Betah Tekva center, and it was decided to extend his detention for a period of 9 days, under the pretext of continuation of the investigation.


(26-9) Facebook restricted the account of freelance journalist Amer Abdel Hakim Abu Arafa (37 years).

Abu Arafa reported to Mada Center that his account was restricted on Sunday 9/26/2021, the same day that 5 Palestinian youth were martyred in the West Bank at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces. Jouralist Abu Arafa had posted a video of one of the youths. Several minutes after publishing the video, the journalist’s account was restricted under the pretext of violating Facebook standards. Journalist Abu Arafa was prevented from publishing on groups for three weeks, as well as from live broadcasting for two months, and from sponsored advertisements for a month, and from publishing on the page for two days. The site marked the page of journalist Abu Arafa, stating that his account had been restricted, which was only visible to him.


(27-9) Photojournalist Yousef Shehadeh was wounded by a rubber bullet in his foot fired by the occupation soldiers at him while he was covering a demonstration and confrontations at the entrance to the city of Al-Bireh.

Youssef Ahmed Shehadeh, 21, a photographer working for the Public Relations Department at the Ministry of Justice, stated that he went at 4:30 pm on Monday 27/9/2021 to the entrance to the city of Al-Bireh to cover a student march that left Birzeit University in protest against the martyrdom of 5 Young men shot by the occupation forces on that day, and he was wearing a full journalist’s uniform. While he and five other journalists arrived to cover these events, about 40 meters away from the soldiers, the soldiers started shooting rubber bullets at the demonstrators, and during that time they deliberately targeted the journalists who were standing far away. Photographer Youssef was injured by a rubber bullet in the left leg below the knee. Youssef received field treatment on the same place.

(30-9) Instagram suspended the account of freelance journalist, Hassan Abdel-Fattah Solih (34 years), from the Gaza Strip, at 11:00am on the morning of Thursday 30/09/2021.

Journalist Hassan Abdel-Fattah informed “Mada” that at eleven o’clock in the afternoon on Thursday 30/9/2021 he tried to access his account on Instagram, and as a result he sent a message in which he inquired from the site’s administration, but the message was not delivered.  Journalist Abdel-Fattah noted that two weeks before, he was forced to remove some content that he posted to Instagram of a martyr’s funeral and pictures of prisoners, which he considered a kind of warning.

About a quarter of a million people follow the account of journalist Abdel Fattah on Instagram.