Israeli forces increase persecution of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank

Date:

Updated: 9:32 PM, Mon November 20, 2023

Israeli Forces Increase Persecution of Palestinian Journalists in the West Bank

In a troubling trend, Israeli forces have intensified their persecution of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank, resulting in the imprisonment of at least 14 journalists since mid-October. This increased pressure on media professionals by Israeli security forces has raised serious concerns among press freedom advocates.

The situation unfolded as most of the targeted Palestinian journalists were subjected to raids on their homes between October 15th and November 8th. Disturbingly, these arrests have taken place in the Palestinian Authority-governed West Bank. Among those detained is Moaz Amarna, a photojournalist working with the J-Media news website. Amarna’s ordeal commenced when soldiers visited his residence in the Dheisheh refugee camp, located south of Bethlehem, on October 16th. Upon identifying himself as a journalist, he was promptly arrested on the grounds of inciting violence following a call to his captors’ superior officer, as reported by the Mada Centre, a Palestinian press freedom organization.

In a deeply concerning development, Amarna was later transferred to Israel’s Megiddo prison, where he was sentenced to six months of administrative detention two weeks after his arrest. The journalist’s lawyer has alleged that he has endured repeated acts of violence at the hands of his jailers, who have also denied him access to essential medical care. It is worth noting that Amarna suffers from the lasting effects of a severe head injury sustained when he was shot by Israeli soldiers while reporting on an armed clash near Jerusalem in 2019. Tragically, he lost an eye as a result of the incident.

Another victim of this intensifying assault on press freedom is Thaer Ziyad Al-Fakhouri, a 32-year-old who runs the Space Media production company and serves as the head of Hebron’s press department. Al-Fakhouri was apprehended at his home in the southern part of Hebron during the early hours of October 20th. According to his father, Israeli soldiers surrounded him while keeping his wife and children at a distance. Following the seizure of his keys and phone, he was handcuffed, blindfolded, and taken to an undisclosed location.

These alarming incidents highlight the urgent need for attention to the deteriorating press freedom situation within the West Bank. Human rights organizations and proponents of a free press, such as Reporters Without Borders (RSF), have called for the immediate release of the imprisoned Palestinian journalists and condemned the escalating persecution. RSF considers this crackdown a serious menace to the fundamental values of press freedom.

The continued targeting and detention of journalists undermine the ability to report the truth, stifling the flow of information and depriving the public of important facts. As guardians of democracy, it is crucial to safeguard the freedom of journalists to carry out their essential work without fear of retribution. The international community must address this issue and advocate for the release of the detained journalists to restore and uphold press freedom in the West Bank.

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Siddharth Mehta
Siddharth Mehta
Siddharth Mehta is a dedicated author at The Reportify who covers the intricate world of politics. With a deep interest in current affairs and political dynamics, Siddharth provides insightful analysis, updates, and perspectives in the Politics category. He can be reached at siddharth@thereportify.com for any inquiries or further information.

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