Palestinian journalists forced to strip at Clinton press conference
19 July 2012
Palestinian journalists were forced to remove their clothes for security checks at a press conference held by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem. The Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate (PJS) said that those who refused were turned away.
Following the incident, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), of which the PJS is an affiliate, has called on the Israeli authorities to respect the right to dignity of Palestinian journalists.
Jim Boumelha, IFJ President, said:
"We share our Palestinian colleagues' outrage at this behavior which should not be tolerated. The authorities must not allow the security forces to humiliate and discriminate against Palestinian journalists. They should apologise for this shameful incident and commit to preventing it from happening again."
The PJS said that Palestinian journalists were singled out and made to remove their clothes as part of the security checks at the David City Hotel where the US Secretary of State was due to hold the press conference. The Syndicate added that the incident took place in front of US security personnel, prompting the PJS to send a protest letter to Mrs. Clinton.
The letter called on the US Secretary of State to take a stand against the violation of Palestinian journalists' dignity:
"Stripping Palestinian journalists of their clothes using security excuses represent the racist policy of the Israeli government toward Palestinian journalists, in addition to severe restrictions on the ability to work and move freely like their colleagues from around the world."
The IFJ backs the PJS' demand, saying that visiting dignitaries to Israel and Palestine have an obligation to speak out against the treatment meted out to Palestinian media despite the Israeli government's claim to democratic rule based on basic human rights, including press freedom.
Jim Boumelha said:
"This incident gives a lie to all pretence of equal enjoyment of human rights to everyone who is subject to the Israel's jurisdiction. That such a practiced of public discrimination can be on full display before high level foreign visitors should be condemned by those who are witnesses to it."