Israel detains 7 journalists for documenting arrest of unarmed Palestinians

Palestinian journalists protest against attacks on their colleagues in the annexed east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in May (Ahmad Gharabli - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  August 31, 2021

The journalists said they were being arrested for being in a ‘closed military zone’ however the military’s rules allow them to be in such areas, Haaretz reports. Seven Palestinian journalists were arrested by Israeli occupation forces on Friday while covering nonviolent protests in the occupied South Hebron Hills.

Palestinians were protesting plans to expropriate their lands by Israel. Eyewitnesses from the scene said there had been no violence and occupation forces had not used force to disperse the crowd, however, a Palestinian resident was arrested and when journalists documented the arrested, “they detained me as well”, Mashour Wahwah, who works for Wafa News Agency, told the newspaper.

The journalists were taken to the police station in the nearby illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba.

The video documenting part of the incident shows a soldier saying: “We’ll arrest all the journalists. Is that what you want?” In another video, one can hear soldiers shouting at the journalists to sit, followed by one of the journalists saying: “Don’t hit me.” The journalists’ cameras were taken from them.

The journalists were released after being detained for four hours. they were ordered to return on Sunday. Wahwah has since filed a complaint against the soldier who he says used violence against him.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said in response: “Several people who identified themselves as Palestinian journalists were actively and physically involved in trying to increase friction in the area while disturbing the operation of army units. On this background, the unit detained them and transferred them to the police for further treatment.”