New York, December 2, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the reported targeting of journalists covering protests in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The Tel Aviv-based Foreign Press Association reported on Sunday that Israeli forces threw stun grenades and fired rubber-coated bullets at journalists covering clashes on November 29 between protesters and Israeli security forces at the Qalandiya crossing, which connects the northern West Bank and Jerusalem.
The report said that one rubber-coated bullet was fired at an Italian freelance journalist at eye level. “Fortunately the photographer was taking pictures at the time and the rubber bullet shattered the camera instead of his head,” the FPA report said.
In a statement to the FPA, the Israel Defense Forces said that an initial review of the incident had concluded that the bullet was not intentionally fired at the journalist but was merely part of “riot dispersal.”
Security forces also threw stun grenades at journalists, who had their hands raised, showing that they were leaving the protest. The soldiers threw the grenades at their backs, the report said. No one was injured.
“The Israel Defense Forces have a record of tolerating the targeting of journalists, and this is unacceptable,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “We call on the IDF to conduct a credible investigation into this attack and hold the soldiers responsible to account.”
Earlier this year, Palestinian freelance photographer Mohammed al-Azza suffered multiple broken bones in the face after an Israeli soldier shot him with a rubber-coated bullet from approximately 35 feet away, al-Azza’s uncle told CPJ. The IDF told CPJ at the time that it had “decided to conclude the complaint in question” after conducting an inquiry.
- For more data and analysis, visit CPJ’s Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory page here.