Beirut, August 21, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists today expressed concern about Israel’s arrest and ongoing detention of Ali Dar Ali, a reporter for the Palestinian Authority’s official broadcaster Palestine TV.
In a dawn raid on August 15, Israeli troops stormed into the Dar Ali family house in the West Bank village of Burham, 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) northwest of Ramallah, and arrested Dar Ali, according to news reports, Ali Dar Ali’s official Facebook page, and the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom.
Ali Dar Ali’s father was cited by SKeyes as saying that a large number of Israeli soldiers raided the family house, seized Ali’s cell phone and computer, and arrested him without informing them of any charges.
According to Adnan Abdel Jawad, a producer for Palestine TV who has been updating Ali Dar Ali’s official Facebook page since his arrest, Dar Ali was taken to the Binyamin police station immediately after his detention and then transferred few hours later to Ofer Prison.
An unidentified spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was cited by The Times of Israel as saying that Dar Ali had been arrested for allegedly inciting violence against Israeli soldiers in videos he published of them while they were operating. The IDF spokesperson neither mentioned that the detainee was a journalist, nor disclosed his identity, according to The Times of Israel.
“Israel is using every legal measure at its disposal, including accusations of incitement, to thwart critical reporting of its policies and activities in the West Bank and keep journalists like Ali Dar Ali in jail,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour, from New York. “We call on the Israeli authorities to release Ali Dar Ali immediately and let him work freely.”
According to the news reports, authorities accuse Ali of incitement over a video he posted on his official Facebook page of Israeli security forces operating in the Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah and allegedly mapping the house of a Palestinian who was arrested on suspicion of killing an IDF soldier earlier this year. No specific calls for violence against Israeli soldiers are made in that video, according to CPJ’s review of the video and news reports. The army typically maps homes in advance of demolishing them, The Times of Israel reported.
News reports and Abdel Jawad said that the Ofer military court on August 16 extended Dar Ali’s detention for five days. The same court on August 20 extended Ali’s detention until September 4, according to Abdel Jawad, who also posted pictures of Ali at the hearing.
On June 17, an Israeli ministerial committee for legislation approved a bill outlawing the filming of IDF soldiers and calling for a five-year prison term for anyone filming or distributing footage on social media that documents confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians with the intent to break the spirit of Israeli soldiers and inhabitants, according to news reports. The bill passed its first reading out of three in the Israeli parliament on June 20, news reports said.