Soldier assaults Egyptian TV crew at West Bank checkpoint

New York, August 14, 2001—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is gravely concerned about yesterday’s attack on an Egyptian television crew by an Israeli soldier in the West Bank, although we are pleased that the soldier involved has been disciplined.

On the morning of August 13, Tarek Abdel Jaber and Abdel Nasser Abdoun, a reporter and cameraman, respectively, for the state-run Egyptian Television, were assaulted by an unidentified Israeli soldier at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah while they were filming in the area.

Abdoun told CPJ that an unidentified Israeli soldier approached him and Abdel Jaber when they left their car to gather film footage. Abdoun said the soldier ordered him in English to move back and that he obeyed. The soldier then tried to kick him in the shin.

The same soldier then approached Abdel Jaber, slapped him across the face, and then kicked Abdoun in the groin, causing him to fall to the ground.

According to Abdoun and Abdel Jaber, the other soldiers at the checkpoint did nothing to stop the attack. Abdoun captured the incident on video.

Abdoun was taken to Makased hospital in Jerusalem, where he was treated and released after three hours.

In a statement released yesterday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman’s office called the incident “wrong and completely unacceptable,” but accused the journalists of refusing to leave the scene and of “provoking the soldiers guarding the checkpoint.”

The IDF said that the soldier involved in the attack was nonetheless “tried by the battalion commander and received a 21-day prison sentence…[suspended for two years] and was suspended from commanding positions.”