Ramallah – June, 15th, 2022 – An extensive violations against journalists and Media Freedom in Palestine during last May, the most serious of which the murdered of the AL-Jazeera Correspondent Shireen Abu Aqleh while she was covering the Israeli forces raid of Jenin Refugee Camp.
While the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored during the month of April a total of 47 attacks against media freedoms, all of which were committed by the occupation forces in Palestine, the Center monitored a total of 64 attacks during the month of May, 49 of which were committed by the Israeli occupation, which is almost identical to the previous month in terms of numbers only, but it was different in terms of the types of violations and the method used to commit them in order to obscure the crimes of the occupation against Palestinian citizens and journalists.
All attacks against media freedoms during the month of May were confined to the areas of the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and the 65 attacks that were monitored by MADA Center during the month of May were distributed among 49 committed by the occupation authorities and settler groups, and 14 violations committed by Facebook, while the number of violations committed by Palestinian forces were only one violation.
May did not witness a significant increase in the number of Israeli violations compared to the violations committed during April, as MADA Center monitored 49 Israeli violations committed in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, representing 77% of the total attacks, compared to 47 violations monitored during the month of April. However, this relative stability in numbers does not reflect any improvement in the Israeli practice of media freedoms, as May witnessed the most serious violation that was monitored, which was the killing of Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Aqleh during her field coverage in Jenin camp, and the subsequent explicit incitement of the extremist settler and member of Israeli parlement "Itamar Ben Gvir” to kill journalists, and it was noted that some violations were committed by settlers.
Direct physical attacks - whether committed by the occupation forces or settlers - constituted the largest part of the total violations against journalists and media staff by 28%, while preventing coverage and targeting to prevent coverage also accounted for 28% of all Israeli attacks, in addition to other violations that were committed. Most of these attacks took place in the occupied city of Jerusalem as a result of the coverage of the events that followed the killing of journalist Abu Aqleh, and as a result of journalists’/accounts’ and media crews’ coverage of the flag march that settlers set up in the occupied city of Jerusalem after their storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque on May, 29th, which included attacks on citizens and chanting slogans, “Death to Arabs”
Social media violations increased during the month of May, as MADA Center monitored a total of 15 violations committed by Facebook, representing 22% of the total violations committed during it, as it closed three pages of the “We One” office for culture and media, in addition to closing the private page of the office director Journalist Asala Khweis and restriction of the alternative page that she created instead of the closed page.
They closed the official page of "Quds Press", in addition to eight pages belonging to the administrators of the page in several countries, but it was quickly restored after a correspondence with the "Facebook" administration, which argued that there was a mistake.
MADA Center monitored, during the month of May, one violation committed by Palestinian security in West Bank, representing 2% of the total violations committed, compared to zero violations during April.
The Palestinian violations were confined to the incitement carried out by fake Palestinian pages against the director of J-Media network, journalist A’laa Al-Rimawi, these pages are affiliated with the Palestinian security services, as he said.
Incitement against journalist Alaa Al-Rimawi through fake accounts on social media. Alaa Hassan Jamil Al-Rimawi, 43 years old, director of J-Media Network, coordinator and correspondent of Al-Jazeera Mubasher, told MADA that he began receiving incitement letters against him since May 2nd, as a result of covering the events that followed the teachers' strike.
Journalist Al-Rimawi also received threats while covering the student council elections of Birzeit University, when the network covered the arrest of a group of members of the Islamic bloc by the occupation forces one day before the election. “ambassador of Africa” wrote in his Facebook page that A’laa coordinated with the occupation authorities to arrest them in order the Islamic bloc to win, and after the bloc's victory, the threats multiplied, and among these posts were "he must be investigated for treason and association with the occupation" or "the authority must arrest him” . According to Al-Rimawi, the source of these threats is the pages affiliated with the Palestinian security services and their leaders.
Facebook closed three pages of the "We One" office for culture and media, in addition to closing the personal page of the office's director, Asala Khweis, and restricting her alternative account for a period of thirty days.
The director of the “We One” office, Asala Khalil Khweis, 33 years old, to MADA Center, stated that she was surprised by closing three pages run by journalist Asala for the office on the same “Facebook” page, and the pretext was “violating community standards.
At the same time, the journalist's personal page was closed on the same application so that it no longer exists without receiving any prior warning from the company about the possibility of closing her page.
The next day, the journalist created an alternative account, but it was soon restricted for 30 days by being banned from live broadcasts, sponsored ads, and hiding posts from friends two or three days after they were published.
The occupation forces assaulted journalist Ahmed Jalajel, obstructed his work, and pushed him to the ground, causing bruises to his hand, and left foot, while covering the incursion of the occupation forces into Al-Aqsa Square.
Journalist Ahmed Othman Ahmed Jalajel, 41years old, who works for several channels and news websites, told MADA Center that he was in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque to cover the incursions of the occupation forces, and settlers to the place.
While he was filming the process of the withdrawal of the occupation forces, one of its members assaulted him with force, causing him to fall to the ground, along with the camera, causing bruises in his left hand and in his left foot. He received the necessary treatment at the Al-Aqsa Mosque clinic.
A group of settlers attacked Palestine TV crew, and prevented them from covering the confrontations at the entrance of Azzun town near Qalqilya, on Tuesday evening.
The settlers attacked Palestine TV reporter Ahmed Abdel Malik Ibrahim Othman Shawar (35 years), cameraman Bashar Nazzal (45 years), and driver Ayman Tahseen Harsh (40 years).
Shawar, told "MADA" Center that the television crew was informed about the outbreak of confrontations and a gathering of settlers at the entrance to the town of Azzun, so the crew went to the place around six thirty in the evening.
The crew arrived at the main entrance of the village, and about 60 meters before the entrance, they stopped there, to put in the safety clothes, and to unload the equipment, and within a minute a settler carrying a stick attacked them, and waving it at the crew, and in the meantime there was another settler throwing stones at the car, after that about 15 settlers gathered, carrying sticks and other tools, and another with a glass, they started beating them in front of the army personnel, and when they were trying to defend themselves to avoid the strikes, the soldiers pushed them.
Some settlers attacked Nazzal to prevent him from filming, and tried to steal the camera from him. The reporter, tried to film with his mobile phone. One of the settlers hit him on the hand and the phone fell to the ground.
The crew members were beaten all over their bodies, and with difficulty they managed to leave the scene and escape from them.
The occupation forces killed Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Aqleh (51 years old), and the injured her colleague Ali Al-Samudi , while they were covering the raid of Jenin refugee camp, on Wednesday morning may,11th.
Free lance journalist Mujahid Muhammad al-Saadi, 35 years old, who was in the camp to cover the raid, said that he left his home after news of the occupation forces' storming of Jenin refugee camp.
The journalists stood opposite the army forces, and in front of them, and the army soldiers did not make any note about the gathering place of the journalists, who were wearing press uniforms indicating their identity. The journalists advanced from their place a little, and then live bullets began to be fired at them. The first bullet did not hit any of them.
After that, it became clear that bullets began to target the journalists directly, who were 150 meters away from the soldiers, as estimated by the journalist Al-Saadi, who threw himself behind a wall to avoid being shot. When the other journalists tried to retreat, , Al-Samudi was hit by a bullet in the left shoulder, after which he withdrew immediately to another place Abu Aqleh was hit by an explosive bullet in the head.
They were transferred to "Ibn Sina" hospital in Jenin city, where Al-Samoudi received the necessary treatment, while Abu Aqleh was announced dead.
Extremist settlers attacked Palestinian journalists, threatening to kill them, smashing their car windows and assaulting them while they were covering an event in “Masafer Yatta”, south of Hebron on Friday May 13th.
Al-Ghad channel correspondent in the south of the West Bank, Raed Al-Sharif, said to MADA Center, that around 12:00 p.m., a group of journalists, including Al-Ghad TV cameraman Jamil Salhab and Reuters photographer Musa Issa Al-Qawasmi (33 years old), were present to cover the event orgnised by the Committee to Combat the Wall and Settlement against the displacement of eight Palestinian villages in "Masafer Yatta".
While they were covering the event, about 8 settlers attacked them. After a few minutes, the settlers began to gather, increasing their number to more than 29 settlers, who attacked everyone. When they approached the journalists, they told them that they were journalists, as appears from the press uniform they were wearing, they said “You should get bullets in your head."
The settlers also began to insult the journalists while they attacked them, while the occupation army was protecting them, and firing stun grenades towards the journalists.
The settlers also smashed the windows glass of Al-Ghad TV channel car, and Al-Qawasmi car, which were about 50m away from the place, although the cars bear the sign “Press” in English. They were pursued from place to place by settlers and soldiers until they left the place.
The occupation forces attacked journalists, who went to cover the storming of Mahmoud al-Dabai's house in Jenin refugee camp, by firing live bullets, tear gas and sound bombs.
J-Media correspondent in the northern West Bank, Samer Amin Khweira (41 years old), stated that he went with his colleague, photographer Ashraf Mahmoud Abu Shaweesh (42 years old), to cover the occupation forces’ pursuit of the prisoner’s brother Zakaria al-Zubaidi in Jenin refugee camp, specifically in The "target" area where the house he hid was trapped. After the crew arrived at the besieged house, they positioned themselves on the roof of another building 50-70 m away from it, after they put on the press uniform, and the crew began covering the event with a live broadcast, while the besieged house was being burned.
During only five minutes of coverage, the soldiers of the occupation army targeted the J-Media crew with live bullets while no one else was on the roof of the building, but none of those bullets hit them because they were sheltering in the walls, and they were standing on the building opposite the building.
One of the bullets penetrated the window, which was not more than one meter away from the reporter Khuwayra, which led to the cessation of coverage for a few minutes. After returning to cover again, the crew was subjected to heavy gunfire for more than 20 seconds, but they managed to survive.
SIPA USA photographer Nasser Suleiman Shtayyeh (51 years old) stated that he was covering the storming of the house of Al-Daba'i in Jenin refugee camp. He went inside the burning house to take pictures of the house, and it was filled with the smell of smoke emitted by the firing of gas bombs, as well as the burning of the house and its furniture, and he stayed there for about a quarter of an hour.
After Shtayyeh entered the house, he experienced a drop in blood pressure, as a result of inhaling toxic gases, which rendered him unconscious for several minutes, he woke up to find himself inside Jenin Governmental Hospital after journalist Majdi Shtayyeh had transferred him there. He received the necessary treatment in the hospital after it was found that his body had been poisoned by gas.
The occupation authorities arrested journalist Dujana Ali Abu Al-Rub (29 years old) from inside the town of "Beit Hanina" while he was on his way to participate in the funeral of Shireen Abu Aqleh in Jerusalem on Friday. He was sentenced to 31 days in prison, of which he spent 17 days.
Dujana stated that he went on Friday morning without obtaining a permit to enter Jerusalem to participate in the funeral ceremony of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh.
Journalist Dujana underwent interrogation for one session about the reasons for entering Jerusalem. He replied that he wanted to participate in the funeral ceremony of his colleague, journalist Sherine, out of a humanitarian duty, as he had previously worked in many media organizations such as “Ultra” Palestine, “Al-Araby Al-Jadeed” newspaper, some of which are in partnership with Al Jazeera.
Journalist Dajana was transferred the next day to Ofer detention center, and there were three court sessions for him, the last of which was on 23/05, where he was sentenced to a “reduced sentence” for being a journalist “by the judge’s decision” for a period of 31 days, of which he spent only 17 days, with a fine of 500 Shekel and banned from entering the Israeli territories for two years.
The Israeli occupation forces detained "SIPA USA" photographer Nasser Shtayyeh for a quarter of an hour , and obstructed his work in the town of Kifl Haris in the city of Salfit.
In his testimony to MADA Center, Nasser Suleiman Shtayyeh, 51 years, said that he went to the town of Kifl Haris, southwest of Nablus, to cover the festival held by young men in the town to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Nakba.
During the event, a young man threw a “Molotov bomb” at the military tower at the entrance of the town, which led to the mobilization of the occupation soldiers. During Shtayyeh’s filming of the military tower, he was surprised by a group of soldiers surrounding his car, They searched it and asked for his identity card and press card. He was detained for 15 minutes.
The occupation forces fired tear gas canisters at the Jerusalemite journalists, assaulted them and prevented them from covering the funeral of the martyr Walid Al-Sharif on Monday evening in the Mujahideen cemetery on Salah El-Din Street in the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Al-Mayadeen TV cameraman Muhammad Shukri Asho (37 years) stated that a group of journalists went from Al-Aqsa Mosque in the city of Jerusalem to reach the Martyrs' Cemetery at about 9:30 pm on Monday to cover the funeral ceremony of the martyr Walid Al-Sharif.
Asho, explained that the harassment of the occupation special forces against citizens in general, and journalists in particular began from the moment the funeral start, as they were pushed and obstructed from work, starting from Bab Al-Asbat to Bab Al-Sahira. When Citizens and journalists entered the cemetery they started firing tear gas and rubber bullets at them, the occupation forces were in the middle of the journalists and the civilians, gas bombs were thrown heavily at journalists, Turkish Anatolia Agency correspondent Mustafa Al-Kharouf, and the photographer Moaz Al-Khatib fainted several minutes, and the occupation forces withdrew from the place as a result of suffocation they suffered from the gas.
Among the journalists who were present at the scene in addition to Asho, Diala Juwaihan from Al-Hayat newspaper, Awqaf photographer Rami Al-Khatib, Bara’a Abu Ramoz from Al-Bawsala Network, freelance photographer Abdel-Afou Zghair, German TV cameraman and Jordan TV correspondent Raja’i Al-Khatib, Al-Qastal network correspondent Ahmed Abu Sobeih , the network's photographer is Nisreen Ahmed Salem, the Palestine TV correspondent Layali Eid, and the TV cameraman Amir Abbas.
Photographer Jaafar Shtayyeh was subjected to an attempt to run over by settler bus driven, while covering the events at Hawara Checkpoint, south of Nablus city, on Tuesday afternoon.
Agence France-Presse photographer Jaafar Zahid Shtayyeh, 54 years old, said to MADA Center, that he was informed the occupation soldiers shot a citizen on the pretext of attempt to stab a soldiers at the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus. Shtayyeh, went to the place around 12:00 p.m. He was not wearing a journalist's uniform. After arriving at the checkpoint, he parked his car in a safe yard on the sidewalk, turned on the camera and started filming.
The photographer became aware of a settler bus approaching his parking spot, which slowly began to approach him he fell and his camera on the ground while trying to get away from the bus, but he wasn’t harmed
The occupation forces assaulted the AFP photographer, Hazem Badr, and tried to force him to stay where the demonstrators, who had gathered against the excavations carried out by the occupation authorities, in the Ibrahimi Mosque on Tuesday evening.
Agence France-Press photographer Hazem Jamil Badr (56 years years old) stated that he was there around nine o'clock in the evening to cover a demonstration organized by citizens against the excavations carried out by the occupation in the squares of the Ibrahimi Mosque, the last of which was cutting the stone stairs to the entrance to the mosque in order to install an electric elevator.
The demonstrators tried to reach the courtyards of the mosque, and when they were able to do so, they reached the Iron Gate at the site of the inspection, the border guards pushed them into the waiting area for inspection near the gate. These demonstrators were suppressed with sound and gas bombs.
Photographer Hazem refused to stay with the demonstrators, and the officer insisted, which led to a verbal altercation that led to him being pushed and pushed for two or three minutes, but in the end he was able to get out of the inspection area and move away from the demonstrators.
A group of settlers attacked the car of the head of the Central Coordination Unit in Palestine TV, Abdel Qader Qabaja, with stones as he was passing from the street adjacent to the "Beit El" settlement, on Saturday evening, causing the car's windshield to be completely smashed.
Abd al-Qader Saber Qabaja, 34 years old, stated that he was driving his car marked with the Palestine TV logo on the road adjacent to the settlement of "Beit El" near Ramallah city, heading to the Jalazun refugee camp, when he was heavily targeted by settlers stones, the windshield of the car were broken completely, but he was not hurt.
The occupation forces and settlers assaulted the media professionals and press crews, obstructed their work at several places in Jerusalem, and prevented them from reaching Al-Aqsa Square and covering the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by the occupation forces to protect the settlers who carried out the flags march in Jerusalem. Freelance photographer Ibrahim Kamal Hamad, "Al-Sanglawi" (27 years old), said that he started filming in Al-Aqsa courtyards, when groups of settlers began storming Al-Aqsa Mosque, under the protection of the occupation forces.
A number of the occupation forces approached Ibrahim and asked him to stop filming and move away from the place, so the photographer identified himself and showed his press and identity card, and moved away a little from the place as the officer ordered him, but he was surprised that one of the occupation officers assaulted him and seized his mobile phone, and he went away and didn’t give him any document indicating the confiscation of the phone.
Ibrahim kept trying with the officer until he got the phone back from him after a few minutes, and told him in threatening language to leave the place, telling him, "He doesn't care about being a journalist and doesn't care about any law."
The occupation forces assaulted the director of the Elia Foundation Ahmed Hussein Al-Safadi (49 years), who stated that he was in the Bab al-Silsila area since 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, in order to document the violations of the occupation and settlers in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
At about 10:40 a.m., while the settlers raised the flags, the occupation forces severely beat all those present. A group of occupation forces attacked Safadi by beating him on his stomach, back and legs, and then dragged him on the ground for several meters while the beating continued until his clothes were torn.
They handcuffed him and took him to the "Eliyahu" interrogation center, while the beatings and threats against him continued.
Al-Safadi refused to conduct any investigation with him, and he was released after four hours of detention on condition of house arrest for five days.
Ahmed went to Hadassah Hospital for treatment, where it was found that he had bruises on various parts of his body.
Al-Mayadeen TV cameraman Muhammad Shukri Asho (37 years old) also reported that he and reporter Hana Mahamid were in the Bab al-Silsila area since seven in the morning to cover the incursions of settlers, and the occupation forces into Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards, and at about ten o’clock in the morning a settler came and stood in front of the camera to obstruct coverage of the events, the correspondent asked him to move away several times, but he did not respond until the police ordered him to do so.
When Al-Mayadeen's crew came to cover the arrest of journalist Ahmed Al-Safadi and his entry to the "Eliyahu" investigation center, a group of settlers approached them, pushed and assaulted them several times to obstruct their work.
The Freelance photographer Wahbi Kamel Makiya, 38 years old, stated to MADA Center that at about ten o'clock in the morning he was beaten with sticks by ten members of the Special Forces, while he was inside Al-Aqsa Square while he was covering the storming of the settler and extremist Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir to Al-Aqsa. The Special Forces attacked him and severely beat him until the police came and took him outside Al-Aqsa.
After that, a large group of settlers attacked him and beat him severely.
Photographer Makiya went to the Al-Aqsa Mosque clinic to receive treatment.
Journalist Wissam Ahmed Bukhari, 31, who works for Pal Sport Agency and "Ask Jerusalem Group", was hit in the left foot by a rubber bullet while he was on Salah El-Din Street to cover the Flag march.
At about five o'clock in the evening, the general atmosphere became tense, and the occupation police fired stun grenades at the citizens who opposed the march, while also targeting them with rubber bullets, wounding journalist Wissam with a rubber bullet in the left foot, he went to the French hospital, where he received the necessary treatment there.
In the Bab al-Amoud area, a group of journalists were attacked by settlers, who beat and pushed them to prevent them from covering the events. Ma’an Network correspondent Maysa Mahmoud Abu Ghazaleh (39 years) reported that she and a group of journalists were present (Jordanian TV reporter Raja’i al-Khatib, cameraman Ghassan Abu Eid, journalist Renad al-Sharbati) in the Bab al-Amoud area at about five o’clock in the evening to cover the march of flags, and despite the journalists’ commitment to stand in the place designated for them by the occupation police, the settlers assaulted them, beat them with sticks, pushed them, insulted them and harassed them by closing the lenses of cameras and mobile phones to prevent them from covering, while one Settlers stole the mobile phone of journalist Maysa from her hand in the presence of police and intelligence, and she was unable to recover it.
Settlers attacked the "Al-Araby Al-Jadeed" reporter, Muhammad Abd Rabbo, in , and sprayed hi Bab al-Amoud area with pepper gas on his face, causing him minor burns to the face.
Abed Rabbo stated that he was there at about 2:30 in the afternoon in the Bab al-Amoud area, the moment the settlers attacked one of the Jerusalemites, which was sprayed with gas and assaulted. Large numbers of citizens, including journalist Abed Rabbo, suffocated with gas, and suffered minor burns to his face. The effect of pepper gas directly on him lasted for half an hour, but its complications remained until the next day, as he continued to feel very tired and pain throughout his body.
Journalist Layali Ziad Eid, 30, told MADA Center that she was with photographer Ahmed Jaber between Bab Al-Khalil and Bab Al-Jadid to cover the activities of the flags march for Palestine TV.
As soon as the live broadcast started at five, the settlers attacked her, and harassed the crew by raising flags in front of the camera lens to confuse them, and insulting them, then they gathered around her, and the cameraman, and started kicking them with the feet.
The crew withdrew further to be able to continue the live broadcast, but the settlers caught up with them again, and continued to beat, harass and obstruct their work, deliberately stepping on the camera wires to disrupt the broadcast, the harassment lasted for 20 minutes until the live broadcast ended.
Lana Muhammad Kamila, 35 years old, who works with Marcel Productions, stated that she was present at two o'clock in the afternoon between Bab Al-Jadid and Bab Al-Amoud, covering the flag march for Palestine TV.
Lana and her colleague, the cameraman, were wearing the journalist's uniform, and were standing in an area surrounded by iron barriers, and no one, including the settlers, was allowed to enter it.
Settlers of different ages gathered around the crew, surrounded and harassed them by pushing and covering the camera lens with the Israeli flag.
After that, they tried to pull the microphone from the journalist's hand, and when they were unable to do so, they beat her all over her body with great force, and broke the camera and tripod in front of the police.
The occupation forces prevented the Palestine TV crew, and the correspondent of the Quds News Network from covering the settlers’ march in the squares of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron city and obstructed their work and expelled them by force from inside the squares .
Palestine TV correspondent Wa’d Sami Masimi (32 years old) stated that she and her colleague, cameraman A’laa Al-Haddad, and Quds News Network reporter Sari Sharif Jaradat (35 years old) were in the courtyard of the Ibrahimi Mosque at 11:30 p.m. to cover a march by settlers in front of the "Kiryat Arba" settlement. And up to the Ibrahimi Mosque within what is known as the march of flags. The crew stood on the roof of a citizen's house to document the events of the march and the settlers' storming of the Ibrahimi Mosque.
At about 11:45 p.m., the occupation soldiers followed the crew and detained them for ten minutes. They searched the camera and tried to erase the materials on it, but they did not allow them to do so. Then they forced them to come down from the roof of the house, where they dragged them by the hand and took them to the courtyard of the mosque and from there to the military gate leading outside the Square.
At about 12:00 p.m., while the crew was on life broadcast in front of the courtyard gate of the mosque, the occupation forces followed the journalists again, and ousted them further from their place, and obstructed their work by trying to disrupt the picture, until they were expelled outside the Old City of Hebron.
On Tuesday, May 31, the Meta Company closed several pages of Quds Press on Facebook without any prior warning.
Thaer Ziyad al-Fakhouri, 30 years old, one of the administrators of the Quds Press page, stated that on May 31, the company's management closed Quds Press's page on Facebook, and the personal pages of eight adminsreators working on the page in several countries, including journalists Thaer al-Fakhouri and Amer Abu Arafa in West Bank, and journalist Ahmed Jamal in Gaza Strip.
After contacting the company's management the next day, the closed pages were returned to everyone except for two accounts, and the company's management apologized for this procedure, claiming that something had gone wrong.