Israeli police attack journalists covering protest

Israeli security forces knocked down reporters and trampled at least one journalist while dispersing a peaceful protest in Jerusalem on April 29, 2017, according to video, photographs, and journalists who were present.

A wire photographer who covered the protest in support of hunger-striking Palestinians in Israeli prisons, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to speak to the press, told CPJ that mounted police charged a group of reporters covering the protest together in a group, apart from the protesters. The journalist said he cracked a rib when he fell, trying to avoid the mounted police. Video footage shows Israeli police knocking down reporters as they attempt to disperse the small crowd. The Mada Center, a Palestinian organization supporting journalists’ rights, reported that several other journalists were injured during the incident.

Among the injured was Al-Kofiya TV reporter Nawal Hijazi, who posted photos on Facebook of her being knocked over by charging security forces. Ghassan Abu Eid, a cameraman for the channel, told CPJ that Israeli police officers threw Hijazi to the ground and trampled her. Diala Jweihan, a journalist for official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, told CPJ that security forces beat her on her back and on her neck.

The Israeli Ministry of Public Security’s spokesperson and press department did not immediately answer CPJ’s emails seeking more information.

Israel held at least four journalists in administrative detention on December 1, 2016, when CPJ last conducted its annual census of journalists imprisoned around the world. Government officials have threatened to revoke foreign journalists’ press credentials if they deem the journalists’ reporting portrays the country negatively.