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The targeting of journalists in Palestine must stop

17 October 2018

Jafar Eshtaieh, a member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate’s (PJS) board and an AFP photojournalist, was attacked on October 15 in Al Lubban Al Sharqi village by a teargas bomb that was shot directly at him hitting him in the head.

The National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland (NUJ) has expressed solidarity and support for our colleagues, and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the PJS in condemning the attack and the increase of targeted attacks on Palestinian journalists.

The IFJ has talked with Jafar, who is currently at the hospital, and confirms that medical tests show he is suffering from skull fractures and internal bleeding because of the attack.

The PJS has documented several targeted attacks against journalists in the last week.

Yasser Tawil and Bader Najati were attacked two days ago by live ammunition in the Gaza Strip. Photographer Bilal Sabbagh was targeted by live ammunition that struck his feet while his colleague Yousef Sleih was hit by a bullet fragment on his feet.

In addition, the PJS reported the targeting of Al Aqsa Satellite channel media workers during the coverage of the al Awdeh demonstrations.

In its monthly report, the PJS has documented up to 93 attacks against journalists, including 78 carried out by Israeli occupation forces and 15 by Palestinian security forces.

The PJS also documented an increase in attacks that are designed to cause as much damage as possible, especially the use of live ammunition and gas bombs that directly target journalists when they are working.

Among other attacks, the report mentions cases of preventing journalists from working, arbitrary detentions, unfair trials and beatings.

Most of these attacks against journalists go unpunished.

For example, five Palestinian journalists, including Jafar Eshtaieh, were attacked by Israeli soldiers in July 2012 near Kufur Qadoum village, in the West Bank. The court that investigated the attacks sentenced some of the soldiers to disciplinary action, including denying them promotion. However, Haaretz newspaper reported last March that Roman Gofman, the battalion commander who ordered the attack, "still serves in the IDF and has been promoted to colonel and is the commander of the 7th Battalion".

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"The targeting of journalists and the muzzling of the press in the West Bank is unacceptable. We demand the responsible authorities and the international community urgently investigate all violations of press freedom in Palestine without delay."

Tags: , palestine, palestinian journalists' syndicate, journalist safety, journalists attacked, ifj, solidarity