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MADA: 37 Violations against Media Freedoms across Palestine, 32 committed by the Occupation

Ramallah – 6th March 2023 – February 2023 has witnessed a decline in the number of violations committed against media freedoms across Palestine compared to January in which significant number of violations and assaults was documented.

During February, MADA has documented a total of 37 violations and attacks against media freedoms in Palestine, 33 of which are committed by the Occupation, while two by the Palestinian authorities, and two by social media networks. What was documented in February represents a decrease of 39% compared to what January witnessed, in which 59 violations were documented, 44 of which were committed by the Israeli occupation, while 8 violations were committed by Palestinian authorities.


Israeli Violations:

The number of documented Israeli violations decreased during February by 7 points compared to January, as a total of 33 violations committed by the occupation forces, authorities and settlers were documented, representing 89% of the total violations for the month.

Most of the Israeli violations committed during the past month fall under serious violations threatening the lives of journalists, foremost of which are the physical injuries that show the testimonies of the victims and the circumstances in which deliberate targeting of journalists took place by soldiers to keep them from covering field events in light of the escalation across various governorates, especially what happened in Nablus.

The number of physical assaults documented during February totaled (11), namely: the cameraman WAEL ALSALAMIYAH (rubber bullet in the right leg), AHMED KHALAF (bullet in the left arm), OMAIR ISTAITAH (bullet fragments in the ear), MOHAMMED ALKHATEEB (bullet in the chest), HASSAN ISLAIH (gas bomb in the shoulder), AYMAN NOBANI (sponge-tipped bullet in the thigh), ASHRAF ABU SHAWISH and HANI ALSHAER (gas suffocation), ISSAM ALRIMAWI (pushed hard), JIHAD BARAKAT (hit in the head).

In addition to the aforementioned, the occupation forces targeted 10 journalists to prevent them from covering the events. Most of the violations took place in Nablus, and included the journalists ABDALLAH BAHSH, OMAIR ISTAITAH, BAKER ABDELHAQ, YASSER HABESHAH, JIHAD BADAWI, IHAB ALAMI, MOHAMMED AYYAD, HADI SABARNAH in Hebron, SAJA ALALAMI targeted in Rammon, SABRI JIBREL who was assaulted and beaten by the occupation soldiers who smashed his camera not to mention targeting him with gunfire and stun grenades to keep him from covering the events in Hebron.

On another hand, Israeli parties have incited against the journalist SAID ALDEEN ALQAWASMI and the journalist LATIFA ABDELLATIF and demanded their deportation. This is in addition to preventing the journalist NASSER ISHTAYA and the journalist ABDALLAH BAHSH from covering “Beit Dajan” weekly march. Furthermore, the occupation intelligence arrested the journalist ABD SHATAT for eight days and released him on bail, and summoned both journalists MUSAB QAFISHAH AND KAREEM KHAMAISAH and questioned them.

Moreover, an Israeli officer seized the press card and car keys of the journalist NASSER ISHATAYA for an hour while he was in Huwara.


Palestinian Violations:

Palestinian violations witnessed a clear decline during February, as a total of only two violations were documented, or 6% of all documented violations, compared to eight Palestinian violations documented during January.

These violations were limited to the investigation of the Palestinian intelligence service with Al-Jazeera cameramen, MOHAMMED SOMRAIN and MOHAMMED TURKMAN, about their financial rewards from Al-Jazeera TV.


Social Media-Related Violations:

Violations by social media companies and networks decreased during the past month to only two violations, representing 6% of all violations committed, while during January, 7 violations against media freedoms were documented by social media.

These violations included the closure of the Instagram account of journalist SAID ALDEEN ALQAWASMI and the closure of Palestine News Network (PNN) Page for four days. 



Details of Violations:

1st Feb. – The Palestinian Intelligence Service questioned both journalists, MOHAMMED SOMRAIN and MOHAMMED TURKMAN at the HQ after they were summoned one day earlier via phone.

Both MOHAMMED TURKMAN (26 years old) and MOHAMMED KHDAIR SOMRAIN (36 years old), who work as cameramen for Al-Jazeera Network, stated that they were questioned about their financial reward from the Al-Jazeera.

Both cameramen have presented the financial supporting documents including employment contracts, and financial transfer papers, and left the HQ.


1st Feb. – Israeli parties incited against two journalists from the City of Jerusalem via Twitter, demanded their imprisonment, and deportation, for transmitting news from Hebrew resources on an operation implemented by one of Jerusalem citizens.

SAIF ALDEEN SAED ALQAWASMI (21 years old), who works as a cameraman for Al-Qastal News Network, stated that Israeli parties have incited against him and the journalist LATIFA ABDELLATIF on Twitter, demanded their imprisonment and deportation after they have transmitted news from Hebrew resources on an operation implemented in Jerusalem and shared on their Telegram Account.

The said parties attacked both journalists by sharing more than six posts accusing them of advocating terrorism and the campaign continued against them for almost a week.


1st Feb. Instagram closed the account of journalist SAIF ALDEEN ALQAWASMI under the pretext of inciting against Israelis after he shared news on the operation implemented in the City of Jerusalem.

SAIF ALDEEN SAED ALQAWASMI (21 years old), who works as a cameraman for Al-Qastal News Network, stated that Instagram closed his account followed by about 45k followers after sharing information on the operation implemented in the City of Jerusalem.

ALQAWASMI contacted one of his friends so as to contact with Instagram Administration to recover the account except he learned that he cannot do that unless after 21 days upon the account closure.


1st Feb. The Israeli intelligence summoned the journalist MUSAB QAFISHA for investigation purposes and questioned him for four hours on his media work after scheduling and cancelling more than one day for investigation by the officer in charge.

SANAD Agency Reporter, MUSAB KHAMEES QAFISHA (29 years old) stated that he received a phone call from an officer of the Israeli Intelligence, on Wednesday, corresponding to 1st of February informing him to come to Etzion Prison for investigation purposes, at 12:00PM, on Thursday, the following day.

On the scheduled day, the mentioned journalist went to the Prison, and when he arrived, the soldiers refused to take his ID. He waited for hours before being taken to investigation. He then tried to contact the number the called him the day before, but when no one answered, he left the Prison.

On Sunday, corresponding to 5th Feb., he received another phone call from the same contact, asking him why he did not show up? The journalist answered that he did but no one let him in. the officer asked him to come again on the following day, Monday, but the journalist refused to do, the officer then threatened him with arrest if he does not go.

On Sunday evening, the officer called the journalist again and asked him to come, and the journalist said he will only go if he was allowed inside. The officer then called him again and cancelled.

On Wednesday, the journalist received another phone call, and the same officer informed him that he is officially required to come by the Shin Bet. On Thursday, corresponding to 9th Feb., the journalist went to Etzion Prison, and after he was taken inside, the officer started threatening him and informed him that he was supposed to be arrested last Thursday, but they have him a chance, he said.

The officer asked the journalist about his work and coverage of various events. The journalists answered that he is only doing his worm and that all his movements are known and there is nothing he is hiding, and that if the officer has anything serious or official to talk about, he can go ahead.

The questioning of the journalist lasted for four hours and then he left the investigation center.


2nd Feb. The Israeli occupation forces targeted the cameraman of WAFA News Agency, AYMAN NOBANI with a sponge-tipped bullet while raiding Doma, southern Nablus, to demolish two houses on Thursday.

NOBANI (37 years old) stated to MADA, that at around 10:00AM on Thursday, he was at Doma Village, to cover the demolish of houses therein by the Occupation. The journalist was standing on a high hill of two meters and a half, on the opposite side of which the demolishing was taking place, and the soldiers were stationed down.

The journalist was surprised with the soldier down the hill pointing their weapons at him and his colleague NIDAL ISHTAYA. One of them targeted him directly with a sponge-tipped bullet (a type of bullets that contains more than one metal bullets altogether) at his thigh, causing him burns and bruises which required taking him to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus to receive treatment.

The journalist was targeted by the occupation soldiers five meters away in an area where no clashes at all were taking place with the occupation army even though he was in his Press Uniform holding cameras, which clearly shows his press identity.


8th Feb. The occupation intelligence summoned the journalist KAREEM KHAMAISAH and questioned him in Ofer Prison about his media work and covering various events in Jenin for an hour and a half, on Wednesday.

Al-Irsal Network Reporter, and SANAD Agency cameraman, the journalist KAREEM SOBHEY MOHAMMED KHAMAISAH (24 years old), stated that he received a phone call from the Area Officer in Charge, Captain FAHED on Tuesday corresponding to 7th Feb. and asked him to go to Ofer Prison the following day.

The journalist went to Ofer Prison on Wednesday corresponding to 8th Feb. at 11:00PM, as scheduled, and he was questioned about his media work and coverage of various events, particularly that in Jenin. The officer also asked him, very clearly, to be cooperative and transmit information. 

The journalist denied this request which is why the officer threatened him implicitly addressing him “We shall meet again”. The journalist left after an hour and a half of investigation.


13th Feb. The occupation forces targeted journalists with live bullets and gas canisters directly and heavily on Monday to keep them from covering the soldiers’ incursion to Nablus and Old City and blockading one of the buildings. 

Quds News Network reporter, ABDALLAH TAYSEER BAHSH (24 years old) stated that he was in Nablus at around 01:00AM on Monday, that is when the occupation forces’ incursion began. As the occupation forces blockaded one of the buildings for the purpose of arresting citizens and deployed all around the city heavily.

The journalist BAHSH was alone in the “Martyrs Square” wearing the professional safety gear when he was targeted for the first time with live bullets directly as the first bullet fell behind him while the second one passed next to his head which made him lay down on the ground. 

The journalist moved away from the square area, about 200 meters, to reach Granada Street, at about 2:00AM, where he met his colleague, Al-Najah TV cameraman OMAIR JAMAL ISTAITAH (30 years old), and at these moments they were directly targeted with live bullets, although they were standing next to an ambulance.

Both journalists left Granada Street to the Old City, where they met Palestine TV reporter BAKR ABDEL-HAQ, TV cameraman YASSER HABISHAH, and photojournalist JIHAD BADAWI. Meanwhile, they were also targeted with live bullets directly to obstruct their work and prevent them from covering the incursion. Despite this, the journalists continued to cover until 6:30AM.

J-Media Agency cameraman ASHRAF MAHMOUD ABU SHAWEESH (43 years old) stated that he was alone at around 11:00PM on Sunday in "Sufyan" Street in the center of Nablus, near the Old City, as the occupation soldiers surrounded a house there.

ABU SHAWEESH continued covering until 03:00AM on Monday, when he was with a group of paramedics - in a somewhat closed area - when they were directly targeted with gas canisters, as the cameraman “ABU SHAWEESH” suffocated severely and was transported by the ambulance to the hospital, where he received treatment for an hour.


13th Feb. The Border Police Forces targeted photojournalist WAEL ALSALAYMEH with rubber-coated metal bullets in his right leg while he was covering the demolition and clashes in Jabel Mukaber in occupied Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.

Al-Jazeera Network Cameraman WAEL MOHAMMED DAWOUD ALSALAYMEH (58 years old) stated to MADA that around 08:00AM on Monday he was covering the demolitions in Jabel Mukaber in the City of Jerusalem.

After the demolitions ended, the Border Police Forces withdrew therefrom. During their withdrawal, they confronted the demonstrators, who attacked them with stones.

At around 11:00AM, the cameraman SALAYMEH was targeted with a rubber-coated metal bullet in his right leg from a distance of less than 100 meters.

He received field treatment and then was transported by ambulance to Makassed Hospital, where he received the necessary treatment and the doctors made sure that there were no fractures in his leg.

Among the journalists who were present in the coverage (NAJWAN SAMRI, AHMED AL-BADIRI, MAYSA ABU GHAZALEH, Al-Mayadeen crew, Al-Qastal network crew) who were on the main street to cover the clashes.


15th Feb. The Israeli occupation authorities arrested journalist and content creator ABDULLAH SHATAT from his house in Bidya Town, Salfit, and interrogated him about his media work. He was released on bail after eight days of detention.

The journalist and content creator of (P-Plus) Platform, ABDULLAH MOHAMMED SHATAT (32 years old), stated that a force of "Jolani" Unit, in three jeeps, stormed his house in "Bidya", Salfit, at about 01:00PM on Wednesday, and they broke the door of the house, searched it, and seized his mobile phones. The officer in charge of the unit interrogated the journalist for fifteen minutes, and then he was arrested.

The journalist was transferred in the military jeep to a settlement close to his house, and he remained lying in the street in the cold weather until 09:00AM, and then he was transferred to "Huwara" Detention Center under very bad conditions of detention, in the cold weather and without blankets.

Because of the bad conditions in "Huwara" Detention Center, the journalist fell into the yard, which led to his transfer to "Beilinson" Hospital, where he received the necessary treatment, and from there he was transferred to "Megiddo" Prison. There, he was interrogated in "Salem" Camp for about five times, all of which focused on his journalistic work, coverage of various events, and the use of social media in his work.

During his detention, the journalist was brought before the court three times on charges of disturbing security and inciting terrorism, and each time his detention was extended under the pretext of completing the investigation.

In the penultimate session, the judge requested that the journalist's detention be extended until Thursday 23rd Feb., provided that he be released if no evidence is proven against him.

During the court session on Thursday and based on the journalist's file, the judge decided to release him on a paid bail of (5,000) shekels, which the lawyer was able to reduce to (1,500) shekels, provided that he be re-arrested within a year if evidence is available against him.


16th Feb. Facebook Management deleted the page of the Palestine News Network (PNN) for a period of four days before it was able to recover it after the intervention of several institutions such as "Sada Social".

The Director of Palestine News Network (PNN), MUNJID JADO, and its editor-in-chief stated to MADA that “Facebook” deleted the main page of the Network, followed by 220k, late Thursday night 16th Feb., and all the pages of the Network's editors and administrations were closed.

The site management deleted PNN page immediately and without prior notice, and it lasted until 20th Feb., when the Network was able to restore the page with the help of "Sada Social".


22nd Feb. Three journalists were injured by live bullets and fragments from bullets fired by the occupation soldiers while they were covering the incursion of the occupation soldiers into the city of Nablus on Wednesday morning, although they were wearing press uniforms.

The freelance journalist AHMED MOHAMMED ZAHI KHALAF (43 years old) said that he was at around 10:00AM near Nablus when the occupation soldiers began to storm the city.

The journalist started by taking video clips documenting the incursion and demonstrations between citizens and the occupation soldiers. At one point, the journalist was trying to cross the street to choose a suitable location for filming. He was targeted by the first bullet, which did not hit him, followed by another explosive bullet that hit his left arm right below the shoulder.

The journalist was transferred to Rafidia Hospital, where he received the necessary treatment. It was found that there were two fragments inside the hand, and it was difficult to take them out because it is a nerve area.

An-Najah TV cameraman OMAIR JAMAL ISTAITAH (30 years old) reported that he was present at around 10:15AM on Wednesday morning in the “Eastern Market” area in Nablus to cover the incursion. At about 11:20AM, gunfire took place from Al-Qaisariya neighborhood, and after about fifteen minutes, the occupation began to escalate the shooting, at which time the journalist felt that there was something on his face, as many fragments had hit his face on the left side and on the ear.

The fragment injury was minor, so he underwent field treatment and completed coverage.

As for Palestine TV reporter, MOHAMMED ABDELKAREEM AHMED ALKHATEEB (33 years old), he said that he was exposed to direct fire from the occupation forces, when he was covering the clashes that erupted in the city of Nablus during the military operation, and that was at about 11:30PM.

An Israeli military vehicle approached the journalist, despite the soldiers' ability to see him from a distance of no more than tens of meters and fired gas canisters at him. Then he woke up while he was in the ambulance, having been shot in the chest.

In the hospital, it was found that he had broken ribs in the chest on the left side, as wearing the vest prevented him from being fatally injured. The doctors were also unable to determine the type of bullet that hit the vest he was wearing, which fractured his ribs in this way.

Feb. 22nd. The Occupation Forces assaulted the journalist SABRI JEBRIL and targeted him multiple types with bullets and stun grenades and destroyed his equipment to prevent him from covering the incursion of Beit Fajjar close to Bethlehem on Wednesday evening.

The reporter of “J-Media”, SABRI JEBRIL (32 years old) reported to MADA in Bethlehem that he was present in that area to cover the incursion of Beit Fajjar town at 05:00P M on Wednesday evening. At that time, the clashes between the citizens and the Occupation Forces broke down on the main street that was punctuated by the firing of live ammunition, stun grenades, and tear gas heavily against the citizens.

The journalist was targeted with two bullets the moment he arrived, but they hit the door next to him. The journalist was not able to recognize if the bullets were rubber bullets or live ammunition.

The journalist shouted at the soldiers in Hebrew declaring that he is a journalist, then he walked to reach a safe corner that is far from the clashes where stones were thrown, and that was 30 meters far from the soldiers.

The soldiers shouted at him again and asked him to leave the area, but he refused because he will not be safe if he moved to the main street where the demonstrators are. He then was targeted with 3 consecutive stun grenades to force him to leave the area.

Since the journalist remained in his position, two soldiers approached him and beat his leg and punched him in the face. As a result, the camera fell on the ground and was destroyed by the soldiers by smashing it to the ground.


Feb. 24th. The journalist HASAN ESLEIH was shot with a tear gas canister in his right shoulder and the journalist HANI ASHAE’R was subject to suffocation on Friday evening. They were covering the demonstrations that broke down in support of Nablus city close to the separation fence east “Khuza’a” to the south of the Gaza Strip.

The journalist HANI HAMMAD ASHAE’R (34 years old) reported to MADA that his colleague, the director of “Alam 24”, the journalist HASAN ABDULFATAH ESLEIH (36 years old), and himself went to cover the demonstrations that broke down close to the separation fence to the east of the Gaza Strip in support of Nablus city. They were not in the press uniform.

The two journalists arrived to the location around 04:00 PM and the citizens were already rallied in an area that is 350 meters away from the soldiers. There were also 6 military armored vehicles in addition to the soldiers close to the separation fence, and others on the nearby dunes.

The two journalists were targeted with at least 10 tear gas canisters that fell in their vicinity during their coverage of the demonstration which was punctuated by live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas canisters. The journalist ESLEIH was subject to a mild injury in his right shoulder due to being shot with a tear gas canister, due to which, he had field medical treatment in the area. On the other hand, the journalist ASHAE’R suffocated because of the intense tear gas smell, and due to that, he left the area to a safer location refusing field medical treatment.

The two journalists were able to finish the coverage and leave the area at 05:45 PM.


Feb. 24th. The Occupation soldiers prevented the two journalists ESHTAYEH and ABDULLAH BAHSH from covering “Beit Dajan” weekly demonstration on Friday evening. The soldiers asked the two journalists to leave the area on the excuse of it being a military zone.

The reporter of “SIPA USA”, NASSER SLEIMAN ESHTAYEH (51 years old) reported to MADA that at 01:30 PM on Friday, his colleague ABDULLAH TAYSEER BAHSH (24 years old) went to “Beit Dajan” to cover the weekly anti-settlement demonstration.

An Israeli officer approached the two journalists and told them that the area they are standing in is a military zone and they need to leave it immediately during the coverage of the demonstration punctuated by heavily firing stun grenades and tear gas against the demonstrators. 

The officer tried to assault the journalist ESHTAYEH who argued with him about the legality of him being prevented from covering the demonstration and being in the area. The journalist did not allow the officer to assault him and told him that he can be arrested but not assaulted.

Despite that the journalist NASSER told the officer that he works for an American agency, the officer did not bear it in mind and went on to preventing them from coverage and forcing them to leave the area at 01:50 PM.


Feb 24th. The Israeli Occupation soldiers targeted a group of journalists on Friday evening with stun grenades and tear gas canisters during their coverage of the funeral of one of the citizens at the entrance of “Beit Ummar” to the north of Hebron city.

The Associated Press cameraman, IHAB ISSA ALALAMI (24 years old) reported to MADA that at around 4:30 PM on Friday, he and the journalist MUHAMMAD AYAD AWAD and Al-Jazeera Mubasher cameraman HADI MAJED SABARNEH were present at the entrance to the town of "Beit Ummar" in Hebron while they were wearing their full uniforms to cover the funeral of one of the citizens there.

During the coverage, the occupation soldiers suppressed the funeral with stun grenades and tear gas canisters to disperse the people, while one of the military armored vehicles targeted the journalists by firing a batch of tear gas canisters at them, despite them standing on the roof of a house. Four of the canisters fell near the journalists and four others far from them, and they fled the location immediately.

Within a few minutes, another soldier targeted the journalists with two stun grenades, but they fell next to them and did not hit any of them.

All journalists remained covering until 6:30 PM.


Feb. 24th. The Occupation soldiers fired rubber bullets directly at the journalist, SAJA AL-ALAMI, while covering an anti-settlement activity near the village of "Rammon" to the east of Ramallah, on Friday afternoon.

In her testimony to MADA, "Palestine Post" reporter, SAJA SHAKER AL-ALAMI (28 years old) stated that she went at around 12:30 noon, after the end of the Friday prayer, to cover an event organized by the people of "Rammon" town to the east of Ramallah, against the establishment of settlement outposts on the town's lands.

The demonstrations started by the citizens and the suppression began by the Occupation soldiers, who fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters heavily and tried to disperse the citizens by hitting them with rubber bullets.

The journalists, who were wearing press uniforms, were present in a corner away from the demonstrators and the soldiers to cover the event, and when the repression began, the journalists dispersed from one another.

While the journalist, SAJA, was completing the coverage, one of the soldiers approached her and started shouting at her. He directly targeted her with a rubber bullet from a distance of 20 meters, but she was not hit.

One of the soldiers forcefully pushed Al-Hayat Al-Jadida cameraman ISSAM AL-RIMAWI to distance him from the place and prevent him from covering, while another soldier hit journalist JEHAD BARAKAT on his head while he was trying to get into his car to leave the place.


Feb. 27th. An Israeli officer confiscated the press card and the car key of the cameraman of the American agency “SIPA USA” for about an hour to prevent him from covering the press conference of the Israeli Chief of Staff in the town of “Huwara” on Monday.

In his testimony to MADA, NASSER SLEIMAN ESHTAYEH (51 years old), the cameraman of SIPA USA, stated that he was in the town of "Huwara" on Monday morning, and at about 11:00 noon a press conference was scheduled for the Israeli Chief of Staff in the town. Shortly after the date of the conference, an Israeli officer approached the cameraman, ESHTAYEH, and withdrew his press card, and tried to confiscate his car key. When the journalist refused, he forcibly confiscated it from him.

The cameraman tried to cover the press conference, but the guards prevented him from approaching because he did not have his press card. After about an hour, the cameraman returned to the officer and took back his press card and the car key.


Feb. 28th. A group of settlers attacked the car of the journalist, MUTASEM SAQF ALHEIT, by throwing stones at it while he was passing the "Za'tara" checkpoint on Tuesday evening, which destroyed its front completely.

In his testimony to MADA, Quds News Network cameraman MUTASEM SAMEER SAQF ALHEIT (32 years old) stated that he was returning to Nablus at around 6:00 PM after he finished his media coverage in the city of Jericho. While he was passing through the "Za'tara" checkpoint, a group of settlers intercepted him and threw stones at his car heavily. The attack resulted in the shattering of the front windshield of the car, in addition to destroying the front of the car completely.