Lt. Gen. Halutz:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the beating and brief detention of a cameraman filming a protest in the West Bank today.
Nabil al-Mazzawi, 26, on assignment for the Qatar-based al-Jazeera news channel, was covering a demonstration against Israel’s construction of the separation barrier in the village of Beilin, near Ramallah, when he was attacked by several soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, the journalist told CPJ. He said the soldiers punched, kicked, and threw him to the ground. Al-Mazzawi said he was detained for six hours.
An Israeli police spokesman said soldiers detained al-Mazzawi after he assaulted a border police officer, according to news reports. But footage from al-Mazzawi’s camera showed he did not attack an officer or provoke the assault, according to a statement issued by al-Jazeera. Al-Mazzawi told CPJ that he was released after police viewed the tape; he said he was told that he can file a complaint against the soldiers.
CPJ is deeply concerned by the disturbing number of documented incidents in which Israeli soldiers have attacked clearly identified journalists carrying out their assignments. Rarely have investigations into such incidents been carried out seriously or those responsible brought to justice, a situation that allows soldiers to continue to act with impunity.
We urge you to conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation into the attack on Nabil al-Mazzawi and to hold the assailants responsible to the full extent of the law.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your reply.