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MADA: 17 violations documented during December 2021

Ramallah - 11/01/2022 The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored during the month of December a total of (17) violations against media freedoms in Palestine, compared to (54) violations documented by MADA during last November, which represents a decrease of 69% in the number of violations.

The attacks documented during December were distributed as follows: (12) attacks perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces, (4) attacks by Palestinian parties, and one violation by social media platforms.

The Israeli violations are the highest in terms of number of violations, type, and its danger on media freedoms, as most of the violations occurred during journalists’ coverage of the confrontations that took place in different areas of the West Bank between Palestinian citizens on the one hand and settlers and the occupation forces on the other, after the killing of one of the settlers and the injury of two others near “Homesh” settlement, between Nablus and Jenin on Thursday 16/12.





Israeli violations:

During the month of December, the Israeli occupation committed a total of (12) violations against media freedoms and press crews in Palestine. The Israeli violations decreased by a total of (27) violations (70%) compared to the month of November, as MADA monitored and documented a total of (39) Israeli violations.

Six journalists were injured by the occupation forces: 1) Wafa Agency correspondent, Wafa Abdel Rahman, 2) Palestine TV correspondent, Ihab Damairah, 3) Palestine TV cameraman Fadi Yassin, 4) J-Media correspondent, Samer Khweira, 5) AP cameraman Mahmoud Alyan, and 6) Palestine TV cameraman, Shadi Jarar’a.

The occupation forces also targeted two journalists with gas canisters in order to prevent them from covering the settlers’ attacks on the residents of Burqa village, north of Nablus. The two journalists, Farouk Shehadeh Al-Araby TV cameraman and Hafez Abu Sabra Roya TV correspondent, were also shot with rubber-coated bullets. Mahmoud Alyan, a photographer for AP, was physically assaulted by an Israeli policeman while covering the confrontations in Jerusalem, after the decision of the Israeli authorities to evacuate a house for a Jerusalemite citizen in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The Israeli occupation forces detained the freelance photographer, Mahmoud Fawzi Abdel Ghani, while he was passing through the "Shufa" checkpoint near the city of Tulkarm for a quarter of an hour, while the settlers threatened both the Palestine News Network photographer Mutasem Saqf Al-Hait and the Palestine Post network photographer Saja Al-Alami to shoot them if they did not leave the place where settlers were marching near Sabastia Road Junction, northwest of Nablus.


Palestinian violations:

The month of December witnessed a decrease in the number of Palestinian violations, as MADA monitored a total of (4) violations against media freedoms committed by Palestinian parties in the West Bank, compared to (7) violations during November. These violations represented (23%) of the total violations committed against media freedoms during December.

Associated Press cameraman, Majdi Shtayyeh, was physically assaulted as he suffocated because of inhaling gas fired by Palestinian security forces during the funeral of the martyr, Jamal Kayal, in the city center of Nablus. The Palestinian security forces also detained journalist, Musab Khamis Qafisha, for hours before releasing him, claiming that what had happened was a "mistake".

Meanwhile, journalist Abd al-Salam Awad was subjected to torture and ill-treatment, during an eight-day detention period by the Palestinian Preventive Security Service.

Social Media networks Violations:

Violations of social media networks in December decreased to one violation which was committed by "Tik Tok" platform, compared to (7) violations committed by social media networks during November.

The "Tik Tok" platform had closed the account of the Qastal News Network, which covers the city of Jerusalem news. The network page was reactivated after 15 days of closure following an objection was submitted by the network against the platform's decision.


Violation details:

(3/12) Journalist Shadi Jarra'a was wounded by a sponge-tipped bullet in the heel of the foot on Friday while covering the confrontations with the occupation forces in the town of Beita, south of Nablus.

Palestine TV cameraman Shadi Yasser Jarra'a, (31 years), stated that he was in the town of  Beita at 12:30 in the afternoon, wearing his full press uniform, to cover the weekly peaceful demonstrations organized by the town's residents to reject the establishment of the Israeli settlement on Subaih mountain. The occupation soldiers fired tear gas canisters and sponge bullets at citizens and journalists. As a result, the photographer, Shadi, was hit by a sponge bullet in the heel of his left foot from a distance of about 300m. He received field treatment from the Red Crescent crews that were present at the place.


(05/12) The Tik Tok application has suspended the account of the "Al Qastal News Network",

Journalist Ayman Faisal Qawariq (35 years old), who works for the Qastal Network, told MADA that the account of the Qastal network, which covers Jerusalem news, had received a message from the “Tik Tok” application on Thursday 02/12 stating that the network’s account had been permanently deleted under the pretext of publishing what is considered a violation of the publishing standards. The letter also stated that Al Qastal network can submit a request to review this decision.

Immediately, the Al Qastal account administrators submitted a request to review the decision, which remained under review until 12/12. On this date when the network administrators received a message from the Tik Tok platform that stated: “Thank you for submitting the request, we have reviewed the petition to restore your account and you will be temporarily banned until 16 12, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused”.

(1312) Associated Press (AP) photographer, Majdi Shtayyeh, was suffocated as a result of inhaling tear gas fired by the Palestinian security services while covering the funeral of the martyr Jamil al-Kayyal in the city center of Nablus on Monday.

Photojournalist, Majdi Muhammad Suleiman Shtayyeh, (39 years), stated that he and a group of journalists (Issam al-Rimawi, Jaafar Shtayyeh, Hisham Abu Shakra) were in the city center of Nablus at ten in the morning on Monday to cover the funeral of the martyr Jamil al-Kayyal, who was shot dead by the occupation forces on Monday night. Thousands of people gathered at the place to participate in the funeral.

As soon as the citizens gathered to pray, dozens of gunmen came out from inside the Old City to participate in the funeral. At that time, friction occurred between the gunmen and the security forces, during which shooting and tear gas canisters were fired by the Palestinian security services, which led to the suffocation of many of the participants, including the photographer Majdi, who was severely suffocated, and received first aid from one of the participants.

(14/12) The Preventive Security arrested professor and journalist, Abed al-Salam Muhammad Awad (50 years), for a period of eight days.  Awwad is a writer for the "Ekhbaryat" website and is a member in the Journalists' Syndicate. During his arrest, the journalist was tortured by hanging from his hands, as a result he was transfer to the hospital, and was released on December 27 on personal bail.

Journalist Awwad reported to MADA Center that on Tuesday, 14/12 he was doing his work as a teacher at Omar Ibn Al-Khattab School in the town of Hawara when members of the Palestinian Preventive Security raided the school, dragged and arrested him in front of his students.

He was released on the same day after his colleagues intervened and announced a strike if he remains in detention. Awwad was released in condition to return to meet the Preventive Security on Sunday 19/12.

On Sunday, 1912, Awwad went to the Preventive Security headquarters in Nablus, where he was hanged by his hands for two hours, which caused him extreme fatigue, rapid heartbeat, and then fainting. He woke up in the National Hospital in Nablus city, where he stayed for several hours, after which he was taken back to prison, and the next day he was transferred to the hospital due to chest pains.

He was interrogated about whether he had recently participated in the reception of any Palestinian prisoner, and whether he was related to any of the members of the former Legislative Council, specifically the "Change and Reform" bloc. He was also interrogated about a post on his Facebook account, in which he asked friends to provide him with the number and names of people and lists that intend to run in the first round of the municipal council elections. He replied about this that he was “working on preparing an informational and media material about these lists”.

According to Awwad, the Public Prosecution Office extended his detention on Monday 20/12 for 48 hours, and on 2212 his detention was extended by five days by the Nablus Magistrate’s Court, also on Sunday 26/12 the court decided to extend his detention for another seven days, then reduced it to one day, and asked him to submit a request for his release. He was released on Monday 27/12 after a 13-day detention, on a bail of 3000 Jordanian dinars.

So far, the court has not charged him. Despite that, he was summoned by the Preventive Security to meet them on Monday 3/1/2022.

(16/12) Palestinian Preventive Security force arrested journalist Musab Qafisha from his home in the city of Hebron on Thursday evening, and released him after two hours of detention without any investigation, claiming that his arrest was a "mistake".

In his testimony to MADA Center, Musab Khamis Abdul-Khaleq Qafisha, (27 years), who works with Sanad News Agency, said that a large force - five cars - from the Palestinian Preventive Security stormed his house in the city of Hebron on Thursday evening and arrested him, without searching the house or confiscating any contents.

Musab was taken to the headquarters of the Preventive Security Service in the city of Hebron, where he was presented to the medical services and the necessary medical examinations were conducted for him in preparation for his arrest. He also handed over what was in his possession before entering the cell.

Qafisha remained in the cell for a short period without being subject to any investigation, when the director of the Preventive Security Office in the city attended, and told him that his arrest was a mistake. He was released around ten in the evening after the security apologized to him.

(17/12) Israeli police force brutally assaulted the Associated Press (AP) photographer, Mahmoud Ibrahim Elayyan (48 years), while he was in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem to cover the protest demonstrations against an order to evict one of the neighborhood homes.

Photographer Elayyan stated to MADA Center that he and a group of journalists were present in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, including Maysa Abu Ghazaleh, Ma’an Agency correspondent, photographer Sinan Abu Maizar, and photographer Ahmed al-Gharabli, to cover a protest demonstration organized by Jerusalemite citizens against the Israel government’s decision to confiscate the house of a Jerusalemite resident of the neighborhood.

One of the young men was beaten, while others were arrested as a result of the fight between the residents and the Israeli police. The Israeli police also threw a stun grenade at them suddenly, but none of them were harmed. At the same moment, a police officer attacked the photographer, threw him to the ground, and brutally beat him with his hands. He was transferred to Hadassah Hospital, where his wound was sutured, and the necessary aid was given to him. He left the hospital at eight o’clock on Friday evening.

(23/12) Two journalists were wounded by rubber-coated bullets while covering the suppression of the clashes in the town of Burqa, north of Nablus, on Thursday afternoon.

Roya TV correspondent, Hafez Abu Sabra, 32, stated that he directed a group of journalists, who are (photographer for Roya TV, Hamada Mansour, Khaled Bader and Muhammad Zakarneh from Al-Ghad Al-Arabi TV, journalists Ameed Shehadeh and Farouk Shehadeh from Al-Araby TV, freelance videographer, Mahmoud Fawzi Abdel-Ghani) to cover the confrontations that erupted on Thursday afternoon between the residents of Burqa village, north of Nablus, and the occupation forces and hundreds of settlers who attacked the village from the nearby settlement of “Homesh”.

The journalists arrived at 12:00 noon at the main entrance to the village of Burqa, and although it was closed, the occupation forces allowed them to remain at the entrance to the village. Less than half an hour later, confrontations erupted between the residents, the occupation soldiers, and the settlers, and the occupation army rained tear gas canisters on those present.

The journalists moved to a side in front of the entrance to one of the houses, where there was a garbage container that allowed them to hide behind to escape the bullets and gas bombs.

At about 1:45 p.m., the soldiers asked the journalists to stay in the middle between the protesters and the soldiers, but the journalists refused, and the soldiers allowed the journalists to stay in front of the trash container, not behind it. Ten minutes later, a soldier fired a stun grenade at the journalists, which led to a verbal altercation between journalist Abu Sabra and the Israeli soldier, but he returned to complete his work. After completing the live broadcast, the journalists agreed to go back behind the demonstrators and go up to a higher place that would allow them to obtain pictures of the settlers’ march on the road between Ramallah and the city of Nablus and to complete the coverage from there. There was an explosion and he felt an object hit his back, causing him to fall to the ground. It turned out that he had been hit by a rubber-coated metal bullet.

Abu Sabra was transferred by Red Crescent crews to an ambulance nearby, where he received initial treatment for half an hour, and then returned to complete his work. However, in the evening of the same day, he went to a health center and underwent medical examinations, and it was found that he had minor bruises.

At approximately 2:40 p.m. on the same day, the occupation soldiers targeted Al-Araby TV cameraman Farouk Zayed Shehadeh (24 years) directly with a rubber-coated metal bullet above his right knee from a distance of about 15m.

(12/25) A force of the occupation army targeted a group of journalists while covering a march of settlers at the entrance to the village of Bazariya, west of Nablus, which started at 6:00 pm on Saturday. Clashes took place between the citizens, the occupation soldiers and the settlers, during which the army forces fired stun grenades, gas grenades, and rubber and sponge bullets.

J-media correspondent, Samer Amin Khweira (40 years), stated that he was present on Saturday evening in direct coverage of the confrontations that erupted between citizens, settlers and soldiers of the occupation army in the village of Burqa in the city of Nablus at six in the evening, where a group of settlers had called To start a march from "Shavei Shomron" settlement to "Homesh" settlement next to Burqa village to protest the killing of an Israeli settler and the injury of two others in an armed attack near the Israeli "Homesh" outpost between the governorates of Nablus and Jenin in mid-December/2021.

At about eight in the evening, while journalist Khuwaira was broadcasting the events live, in the presence of one of the guests with him, he was surprised by about 50 gas bombs fired at him from the grenade launcher while he was not wearing a protective mask, which made him fall to the ground as a result of severe suffocation. He felt great fatigue and pain in his chest and head, and he was unable to escape due to the condensation of smoke in the air.

Journalist Khuwaira was treated by paramedics present at the place for 15 minutes. He was carried and taken to the nearest ambulance, 100 meters from the place, until he regained consciousness and started breathing, then continued covering the events until 11:00 pm.

Palestine TV cameraman, Fadi Abdel Rahim Ibrahim Yassin (41 years old), stated to Mada Center that he and his colleagues (Palestine TV reporter Ihab Badr Al-Din Damayra (33 years) and Wafa News Agency cameraman Muhammad Awad (42 years)) went to the eastern entrance to the village of “Bazaria” near the entrance to the village of Beit Sharaf in coverage of the settlers' march on Thursday evening.

At approximately 9:20 p.m., journalists were targeted with stun grendaes and rubber bullets while covering the events, which led to the suffocation of Palestine TV cameraman Fadi Yassin and the photographer and reporter of the press TV Damayra with gas cansiters, while Wafa Agency cameraman, Wafa Awad, was hit in the stomach by a sponge bullet, and they all received first aid on the spot and they continued the coverage until they left at ten in the evening.


(12/25) An Israeli settler fired live bullets, late in the evening of Saturday, December 25, at journalists and photographers near the city of Nablus.

Saja Shaker Al-Alami (28 years), a photographer for the "Palestine Post", told Mada Center that an Israeli settler opened fire at her, along with the 31-year-old photojournalist, Mu'tasem Samir Saqf Al-Hait, a photographer for the Quds News Network, while they were near the junction of the village of "Sabastia" northwest of the city of Nablus at 10 pm on Saturday. They were taking pictures of the settlers' march that began to attack the residents of the villages of Sebastia and Barqa at the time, where three settlers pointed their weapons in their faces, threatening to shoot.

The photographer, Saqf Al-Hayt, started shouting at them in Hebrew to stop and told them that they were filming and would leave the place as soon as they finished. As soon as they hurried to their car, one of the settlers fired live bullets at them.

(December 28) The freelance photographer, Mahmoud Fawzi Abdel Ghani (36 years), was detained by the occupation forces on Tuesday evening December 28 for about 16 minutes before releasing him while he was passing through the "Shufa" checkpoint in the city of Tulkarm.


Regarding the details of the detention, the photographer, Mahmoud Fawzy, stated that he was on his way to return from Tulkarm to Nablus, where he lives, and while passing through the “Shufa” temporary checkpoint near the town of Shufa between 7:30 and 8:00 pm, which is about three kilometers far from Jbara Checkpoint, the Israeli soldiers stopped him, and after searching his car, they saw his photographic equipment and he told them that he was a photojournalist. They took his ID and phone and detained him for 16 minuets and then released him.