Attacks, arrests, threats, censorship: The high risks of reporting the Israel-Gaza war

Al-Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al Dahdouh (center) mourns over the bodies of family members on October 26, 2023. The previous day, his wife, son, daughter, and grandson were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Nuisserat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. (Photo: AP/Ali Mahmoud)

Since the Israel-Gaza war began on October 7, journalists and media across the region have faced a hostile environment that has made reporting on the war exceptionally challenging.  

In addition to documenting the growing tally of journalists killed and injured, CPJ’s research has found multiple kinds of incidents of journalists being targeted while carrying out their work in Israel and the two Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank.

These include 25 arrests, as well as numerous assaults, threats, cyberattacks, and censorship. As of April 18, CPJ’s records showed that 19 of these journalists were still behind bars.

(Editor’s note: These numbers are being updated regularly as more information becomes available.)

Several journalists have also lost family members while covering the war.

On November 13, eight family members of photojournalist Yasser Qudih were killed when their house in southern Gaza was struck by four missiles, according to Reuters news agency and The Guardian. The incident occurred five days after a November 8 report by HonestReporting—a group that monitors what it describes “ideological prejudice” in media coverage of Israel—raised questions about Qudih and three other Gaza-based photographers having prior knowledge of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. Major media outlets, including Reuters, rejected the claims. HonestReporting subsequently withdrew the accusations, but its report prompted the Israeli prime minister’s office to tweet that the photographers were accomplices in “crimes against humanity” and Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz to say they should be treated as terrorists. Qudih survived the attack.

On October 25, Wael Al Dahdouh, Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief for Gaza, lost his wife, son, daughter, and grandson when an Israel airstrike hit the Nuseirat refugee camp in the center of Gaza, according to a statement from Al-Jazeera and Politico. On January 7, the Al-Jazeera bureau chief lost a fifth family member. His son, Hamza Al Dahdouh, a journalist and camera operator for Al-Jazeera, was killed along with a colleague while on their way back to the southern city of Rafah after filming the aftermath of an airstrike when their vehicle was struck by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), multiple news reports said.

In Gaza, the risks are acute. Israel responded to Hamas’ surprise attack with airstrikes and a ground assault into Gaza, which is controlled by the militant Palestinian group.

CPJ is investigating reports that more than 50 offices in Gaza were damaged, leaving many journalists with no safe place to do their jobs, as they also contend with extensive power and communications outages, food and water shortages, and sometimes have to flee with their families.

In both Gaza and Israel, journalists reporting on the war have indicated they lack personal protective equipment (PPE). CPJ has received multiple requests from freelance journalists seeking PPE, but delivering this equipment to journalists in the region is difficult. CPJ currently recommends journalists consult CPJ’s PPE guide to source their own equipment.

“Journalists in Gaza are facing exponential risk,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “But their colleagues in the West Bank and Israel are also facing unprecedented threats, assaults, and intimidation to obstruct their vital work covering this conflict.”

Journalists from outlets including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, RT Arabic, and Al-Araby TV have reported obstructions to their reporting by the Israeli police, military, and others since the war began. Some of those incidents include:

Assaults

On December 18, an Israeli soldier shot Palestinian journalist and freelance photographer Ramez Awad, injuring his thigh, while he was covering Israeli operations in the village of Jaffna, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, the Qatar-funded London-based Pan Arab Newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the Palestinian Authority-run Wafa news agency, and the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes.

On November 26, several journalists reported being assaulted by Israeli forces while waiting in front of Ofer prison, located between Ramallah and Beituniya, to cover Israel’s release of Palestinian prisoners as part of the Hamas-Israel truce and prisoner exchange agreement, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), the London-based news website The New Arab, and Al Araby TV. 

Journalists from Sky News Arabia, Firas Lutfi, and Raed El-Helw, who were previously assaulted on October 7, informed PJS that Israeli forces targeted them with tear gas and unidentified bullets while reporting from what they thought was a safe area, away from clashes in front of Ofer prison. They were wearing their media vests and informed the Israeli soldiers that they were members of the media. As a result of this attack, El-Helw was injured in his hand while trying to retrieve his camera and leave the area. El-Helw stated that it was a deliberate sniper attack on him and that he observed a laser light on his hand right before he was targeted. PJS shared footage of interviews with Lutfi and El-Helw, along with another video documenting El-Helw’s injury. PJS added that the crews of TRT and Roya News were present during the attack on the journalists.

In a separate November 26 incident near Ofer prison, Al-Araby TV reporter Fadi Al-Assa, an Al-Araby cameraman and another reporter were also targeted with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets from their position on rooftops in the vicinity of the prison. Al-Assa told The New Arab that an IDF drone flew right above them, and they were clearly identifiable as journalists holding their cameras. Israeli forces entered the house and reached them on the rooftop and searched the journalists. They confiscated the memory card of Al-Araby’s cameraman and forced them to leave at gunpoint, according to The New Arab and Al Araby TV.

On November 17, Al-Jazeera English videographer Joseph Handal was assaulted by Israeli settlers in Bethlehem, West Bank, according to the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa, the Palestinian News Network, and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. The attackers smashed the lights and windows of Handal’s car, and hit Handal in the face with a stone before he was taken to a hospital, those sources said.

On November 17, in Jerusalem, reporter Murat Can Ozturk and camera operator Ahmet Bagis of Turkish news channel TRT Haber were assaulted while live on air from the area, covering Israeli forces clashing with Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem’s Wadi Al Joz neighborhood. An Israeli border police officer broke the camera with his weapon, according to TRT Haber, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper, and TRT’s manager in Jerusalem, Yalcin Aka, who spoke to CPJ over the phone.

On October 16, journalist and columnist Israel Frey went into hiding after his home was attacked the previous day by a mob of far-right Israelis after he expressed solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, according to Haaretz and Middle East Eye.

On October 12, BBC Arabic reporters Muhannad Tutunji, Haitham Abudiab, and their team were dragged from their vehicle, searched, and held at gunpoint by police in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, despite their vehicle being marked “TV” in red tape and Tutunji and Abudiab presenting their press cards to police, the BBC reported. The broadcaster said Tutunji was struck on the neck and his phone was thrown on the ground while trying to film the incident. 

In response, the Israeli police issued a statement, quoted by the BBC, that its officers noticed “a suspicious vehicle and stopped it for inspection” and searched the vehicle “for fear of possession of weapons.”

On October 7, Sky News Arabia said that its team in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon was assaulted by Israeli police. The channel’s correspondent, Firas Lutfi, said the police pointed rifles at his head, forced him to undress, confiscated their phones, and escorted them out of the area, according to Sky News Arabia and the Cairo-based Alwafd news.

Arrests

On December 22, Israeli soldiers arrested Palestinian journalist Mohamed al-Rimawi, who works at the Ramallah based Awda TV of the Radio and Television Commission, after a dawn raid on his home in the West Bank city of Beit Rima, according to his outlet, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and the Palestinian Authority-run Palestine TV.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned 

On December 16, Israeli forces arrested Palestinian freelance journalist Hatem Hamdan at the Awarta checkpoint, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicatenews reports, and a Facebook post by his sister-in-law. These reports said that Hamdan’s car was seized. Hamdan is a freelance reporter and cameraman who has been contributing updates and commentary since the start of the war, including on the release of prisoners and the situation in the West Bank, to different broadcasters, including Jordan’s Al-Haqeqa TV, the Yemeni channel Al-Hawaia, the Nablus-based An-Najah TV, and the Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera

Prior to that, Hamdan worked for the news agency J-Media covering news including Israeli seizures of land and homes north of the West Bank city of Ramallah and the throwing of Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops in Ramallah. In early September 2023, Palestinian intelligence agents arrested Hamdan and held him for questioning for four days in the West Bank city of Al-Bireh, according to the Palestinian press freedom group MADA and a Facebook post by Hamdan.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On December 7, 2023, Palestinian journalist Diaa Al-Kahlout, chief bureau correspondent for the Qatari-funded London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, was arrested from the Al-Souk area in Beit Lahya, a city in northern Gaza, along with an unknown number of family members, according to a statement by his outlet and a report by Beirut-based news website Al-Modon. On January 9, 2024, Al-Kahlout was released from Kerem Shalom crossing along with other Palestinian men who were held under Israeli custody, according to his outlet. In a video posted by the outlet after his release, Al-Kahlout said that he faced mistreatment and violence from Israeli officers, including the Shin Bet, and that while being held at a military base he was questioned about an article, published in 2018 by his outlet but written by a different journalist, which described details about Sayeret Matkal, the Israeli military unit, and its operations abroad.

STATUS: Released

On November 19, the award-winning Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha was detained and questioned by Israeli forces as he was fleeing into southern Gaza with his family, according to The New Yorker, CNN, and Al-Jazeera. He was released the following day, those sources said. Abu Toha recently wrote for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Atlantic about the impact of Israeli strikes on his neighborhood. He was released on November  21. “I’m safe but I still have severe pain in my nose and teeth after being beaten by the Israeli army,” Abu Toha posted on Facebook on November 24. “I gave them all my family’s passports, including my American son’s passport but they didn’t return anything to me. Also my clothes and my children’s were taken and not returned to me. No wallet, no money, no credit cards. Everything was confiscated.”

The IDF said in a statement that Abu Toha was taken into questioning because of “intelligence indicating of a number of interactions between several civilians and terror organizations inside the Gaza Strip,” according to The Times of Israel and CNN.

STATUS: Released

On November 19, Palestinian journalist Tarek el-Sharif, the host of the call-in radio show “With the People” on the West Bank-based Raya FM station, was arrested by Israeli soldiers at his home in Ramallah, West Bank, after a dawn raid, according to the Palestinian press freedom group MADA, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, the London-based news website The New Arab, and the journalist’s wife, Suha Tamim, who spoke to CPJ over the phone. Tamim said el-Sharif was being held at Ofer prison and was arrested because of his journalism, specifically his reporting on Gaza and his program “With the People,” adding that el-Sharif did not cover politics. Tamim told CPJ in November that el-Sharif’s lawyer has not been informed by authorities of the reason for his arrest. Later in December he was charged with incitement, which can carry a sentence of up to two years, according to human rights groups in the region.

STATUS: Currently Imprisoned

On November 18, Palestinian journalist Ibrahim al-Zouhairy, a contributor to Al-Hadath news website, was arrested by Israeli forces at his home in Burham town, northern Ramallah, West Bank, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. Soldiers broke into his family home in Burham, north of Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, according to al-Zouhairy’s sister, journalist Hala al-Zouhairy, and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. In an interview with CPJ, Hala al-Zouhairy said that soldiers assaulted the journalist and another brother, Mohammad al-Zouhairy, a law student at Birzeit University, and arrested the pair. They also threatened to kill the family. She said that the brothers were not informed of any charges against them and that their lawyers have no information about the reason for their arrest.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned 

On November 17, Palestinian freelance photographer and activist Abdalafo Bassam Zaghir was arrested by Israeli soldiers at Damascus gate near Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, according to the Hamas-affiliated Quds News Network, the Palestinian press freedom group MADA, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and Sanad News Agency. He was released on November 21.

STATUS: Released

On November 16, Palestinian journalist Mervat Al Azze was placed under arrest after being questioned by Israeli police in Jerusalem over Facebook posts. Al Azze, a part-time producer covering Gaza for NBC, was charged with incitement and transferred to a military court in Jerusalem, according to the London-based news website The New Arab, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, the Palestinian press freedom group MADA, and her lawyer Jad Qadamani who told CPJ via messaging app that Al Azze had been held and interrogated for more than three days.  Al Azze was released in the hostage exchange deal between Israel and Hamas on November 28.

STATUS: Released

On November 8, Israeli soldiers arrested journalist Mohamad al-Atrash, a host for the program “People’s Discussions” at the local Palestinian Radio Alam, after raiding his house in Hebron, West Bank, according to the radio, the London-based news website The New Arab, and the Palestinian press freedom group MADA. Al-Atrash’s wife told Radio Alam that he was arrested and his phone confiscated in a dawn raid. Israeli authorities charged him with incitement on social media. Since the beginning of the 2023 Israel-Gaza war, Al-Atrash has been reporting on a daily basis on the Israeli military campaign in Gaza, including airstrikes, shortages of fuel at Gaza hospitals, and the rising death toll, as well as the war’s impact on the West Bank. He also shares commentary on his personal Facebook account, which has nearly 10,000 followers.  Radio Alam quoted al-Atrash’s lawyer, Khaled al-Araj, as saying that at a November 26 hearing Israeli prosecutors indicted al-Atrash for incitement over posts on his personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, rejected his bail, and extended his detention until the end of his trial without specifying a date.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned 

On November 8, Israeli soldiers arrested reporter Amer Abu Arafa, a freelance reporter who works for the London-based Quds Press agency and Shehab news agency, after raiding his house in Hebron, West Bank, according to the Quds Press agency, the London-based news website The New Arab, the Palestinian press freedom group MADA, and the journalist’s brother Ammar Abu Arafa, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. Ammar Abu Arafa told CPJ that Israeli soldiers broke down their door, raided their house, assaulted his brother, and confiscated his phone. He noted that his brother has health issues and requires medication for paranasal sinuses. Amer Abu Arafa, 39, was previously arrested and placed under administrative detention in July 2022 without charges or trial for eight months, according to his news outlet, Ultra Palestine news website, and his brother, who told CPJ that Amer Abu Arafa was only freed four months ago. Abu Arafa’s wife, Safa Hroub, told CPJ that her husband wasn’t notified of any charges against him and that he has been prevented from seeing a lawyer or his family. She said he was placed in administrative detention for six months on November 19.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On November 5, journalist Ameer Abu Iram, who works for the West Bank’s Ramallah-based news outlet Al Ersal Network, was arrested during a raid by Israeli soldiers on his home in Birzeit, Ramallah, according to a video shared by Al-Ersal on Facebook, a statement by the Palestinian press freedom group MADA, and his wife Joman Abu Arafa, who told CPJ that Abu Iram wasn’t notified of the charges against him or the reasons for his arrest. She said that Abu Iram had been placed in administrative detention on November 7 and that he was being held in Ofer Prison in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Abu Arafa told CPJ that her husband was previously arrested in October 2017 over his journalism, when he was a reporter for the Hamas affiliated Al-Aqsa channel. He was freed in late November 2017, according to the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On November 5, Somaya Jawabra, a 30-year-old freelance journalist from Nablus in the northern West Bank, was arrested. She was summoned, along with her husband, journalist Tariq Al-Sarkaji, for an investigation at the Israeli police station in the Ari’el camp. While her husband was later released, Jawabra, who is seven months pregnant, remains in detention. Her arrest followed about two weeks of incitement against her by settlers in a Telegram group, according to her husband and London-based news website The New ArabRT Arabic, and the Palestinian press freedom group MADA. The New Arab said settlers accused Jawabra of having Hamas ties and of inciting against Israel. On November 12, Jawabra was released from prison under the condition of house arrest for an indefinite period, and bail of 10,000 Shekels (about $2,588 U.S. dollars), and a third-party bail of 50,000 Shekels (about $12,940 U.S. dollars), in addition to preventing her from using the internet, and keeping her, her husband, and her mother-in-law under home supervision, according to the London-based news website The New Arab, and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.

STATUS: Released under home supervision

On October 29, 62-year-old journalist Nawaf al-Amer of Sanad news agency was arrested in a raid by Israeli soldiers on his house in Kafr Qallil town of Nablus in the West Bank, according to his son, Ibrahim al-Amer, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app, and Al-Shabab local radio in Nablus. The Palestinian press freedom group MADA reported that al-Amer was arrested at 4 a.m. on October 29, after his house was searched and his phone was confiscated. MADA also reported that Al-Amer suffers from health issues, including diabetes, and needs medical care, which was confirmed to CPJ by his son, Ibrahim al-Amer, who said his father wasn’t notified of any charges against him. Nawaf al-Amer was previously arrested in 2011, when he was working as a programs director at the Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV channel, and spent 13 months in administrative detention, before he was freed in 2012, according to the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes and MADA.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 28, journalist Mohammad Badr, a reporter and columnist for the Palestinian online website Al-Hadath, gave himself up to the IDF for detention, his wife Soujoud Al-Assi and the Al-Hadath editor-in-chief Rola Sarhan told CPJ. Earlier that month, Israeli forces began to put pressure on Badr’s family to force him to surrender. The pressure began after Badr received a phone call from an Israeli military officer ordering him to return to custody after he had been released from a four-month detention earlier this year even though he had no outstanding charges, according to Palestinian press freedom group MADA. On October 22, Israeli military forces first arrested Badr’s father and two brothers, according to the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes and Assi, who spoke to CPJ. Less than a week later, Israeli forces arrested Assi, also a journalist for Al-Hadath, from the couple’s home in Beit Liqya, southwest of Ramallah. During her arrest, Israeli soldiers searched and vandalized their house and seized electronic devices, according to the Palestinian press group MADA. Later that day, Badr turned himself in, Sarhan told CPJ. Assi, Badr’s father, and one of Badr’s brothers have since been released; a second brother is still in detention, Assi told CPJ.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 27, The Israel Defense Forces arrested Palestinian freelance journalist Belal Arman, who contributed to the now-banned J-Media news agency, and he was later placed in administrative detention for four months. IDF forces surrounded Arman’s home in the West Bank town of Kharbatha Bani Harith, west of Ramallah, asked him to produce identification and a cell phone, and then arrested him, according to the Palestinian press freedom organization MADA, the Beirut-based press regional freedom organization SKeyes, and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. Arman’s cousin, Sameh Arman told CPJ that the family has received no information about the reason for his arrest and that on November 9 he was placed in administrative detention for four months.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 26, Lama Khater, a freelance writer with Middle East Monitor and the Palestinian news website Felesteen and a political activist, was arrested by the IDF in the city of Hebron, West Bank, her husband Hazem Fakhoury told CPJ, and Al-Jazeera and the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes reported. Fakhoury said he did not know the reason for his wife’s arrest but that her lawyer had told him that Khater would be transferred to administrative detention—incarceration without charge, alleging that a person plans to commit an offense. Khater was previously arrested in 2018 and detained for more than a year over her critical reporting, according to the Palestine Information Center and the Middle East Monitor. On November 8, Khater’s husband told CPJ via messaging app that soldiers in her cell threatened her with rape and burning of her children. Her lawyer, Hassan Abbadi, who visited her in prison, also wrote about these details on his Facebook page, which was also reported by Al-Jazeera. The lawyer told CPJ via phone call that Khater was strip searched, and threatened to be “deported to Gaza.” Khater was released in a prisoner exchange in November 2023.

STATUS: Released

On October 25, Israeli military forces arrested Palestinian freelance journalist Radwan Qatanani, who covers issues related to Israel’s military occupation for several Palestinian news websites, including Etar, Arabi 21, Hadarat, and the Hamas-affiliated Quds News Network. He was later placed in administrative detention for six months. Israeli military forces searched Qatanani’s home in the Askar Refugee Camp, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, in the early morning. When they didn’t find the journalists there they called him and asked him to come home. Qatanani returned to the house and was arrested, Qatanani’s brother, Ali Qatanani, told Palestinian press freedom group MADA. Beirut-based regional press freedom organization SKeyes and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate also reported on the arrest. Qatanani´s brother told CPJ that Qatanani was being held in Megiddo Prison, in northern Israel, and that the family has been unable to get any information about his condition or the reasons for his arrest. 

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 20, Israeli military forces arrested Palestinian journalist and producer Thaer Fakhoury. He is being held in administrative detention for six months. Fakhoury is the director of the media production company Space Media, which provides video production services, including to Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera. He also provides live footage of events in the West Bank on his Facebook account, which has 74,000 followers. He also works as a graphic designer and caricaturist, according to his personal Facebook account. Israeli military forces surrounded Fakhoury´s home in southern Hebron and raided it, according to news reports and a report by the Palestinian press freedom group MADA. Fakhoury´s father told MADA that the journalist and his brother were held in a room and questioned while soldiers searched the house. Soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed Fakhoury, seized his cell phone and his car keys, and took him away in a military jeep parked near his house. A relative who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity said the family believed the arrest was related to Fakhoury’s social media posting.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 20, Israeli military forces arrested Palestinian freelance journalist Musaab Qafesha. He was later placed in administrative detention for six months. Qafesha contributes reporting from Hebron and other West Bank locales to broadcasters and news agencies including Egypt’s Al-Watan TV, Iraq’s Al-Rafidiain TV, Al-Watan News Agency, and the Hamas-affiliated Quds News Network. Qafesha also used to work for the monitoring and documentation team of the Palestinian digital rights group Sada Social. Israeli soldiers surrounded Qafesha’s home in Hebron and urged Qafesha and his brother to come out. As soon as they complied, they were handcuffed, taken to military jeeps and driven away to an unknown destination, according to Palestinian press freedom group MADA, citing another brother, and news reports. On October 26, Qafesha was placed in administrative detention for six months, according to Facebook posts by the official Commission of Detainees Affairs. Qafesha´s father, Khamis Abdulkader Qafesha, told CPJ that he believed his son may have been arrested because of his activity on social media, though he could not identify anything specific that might have drawn scrutiny.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 19, Palestinian journalist Alaa al-Rimawi, the director of the Israeli-banned J-Media agency, was arrested after turning himself in at Ofer prison following a raid by Israeli military forces, who entered his home in Ramallah while he was undergoing medical examinations at a hospital, arrested his son, and notified his family that he had to surrender himself to Israeli custody, according to Palestinian press freedom organization MADA, the Lebanese regional press freedom group SKeyes, and a video al-Rimawi posted on TikTok while he was in the hospital. On November 20, al-Rimawi’s wife told CPJ that her husband had been placed in administrative detention for six months, but did not know the exact date the detention began. On October 16, three days prior to al-Rimawi’s arrest at Ofer Prison, the IDF ordered J-Media agency to shut down, according to MADA and the London-based news website The New Arab. Al-Rimawi’s family told CPJ that they believe he is being held over his social media posting, though they didn’t specify which posts.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 19, Palestinian journalist and political commentator Imad Abu Awad was arrested by Israeli forces in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He was later held under administrative detention for six months. Abu Awad provides commentary to international and regional broadcasters including Al-Jazeera, Al-Ghad and Al-Qahera News. He also shares video clips of his TV  appearances and comments on his Facebook account, which has over 3,800 followers.  A former program producer for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV, he directs the Al-Quds Center for Palestinian and Israeli Studies think tank and the U-Smart Center for Training, a training center for Palestinians, in Ramallah. Israeli forces arrested Abu Awad at his office at U-Smart Centre for Training and searched the premises, according to news reports and the Palestinian press freedom group MADA. They seized his cell phone and laptop. Ten days after his arrest, he was placed in administrative detention for six months and transferred to Nafha Prison, outside Beersheba, his brother told CPJ. Abu Awad´s brother told CPJ that the family spoke to Abu Awad in prison and that he is in good health.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 16, Israel Defense Forces arrested Palestinian journalist Abdel Nasser al-Laham, a photographer covering local news for the Ma’an News Agency. He is being held without charge at Ofer Prison, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. IDF forces broke down the door to al-Laham’s home in the Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, at 6:30 a.m., pointed their guns at the journalist, tied his hands behind his back, and blindfolded him, al-Laham’s father, Mohammad al-Laham told Ma’an, which published a video of soldiers leading the journalist away. Al-Laham´s father told CPJ that his son was questioned about activities during his time at university, though was unable to specify what.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 16, Israel Defense Forces arrested Palestinian journalist Moath Amarneh, a photographer and cameraman for the West Bank-based J-Media agency, the same day that Israel banned J-Media on security grounds. Amarneh, who lost his left eye to an Israeli rubber bullet while covering protests in 2019, was placed in administrative detention for six months on October 29 in Megiddo Prison and, according to  news reports and MADA, beaten by prison officers. According to the Palestinian press freedom group MADA and news reports, on October 16, 12 Israeli soldiers stormed into Amarneh´s home in the Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, and handcuffed him. One of the soldiers forced Amarneh to speak to an officer over the phone, who asked Amarneh about the nature of his work. When he said that he was a journalist, the officer informed him that he was under arrest for incitement.  He was provided access to a lawyer, who has been able to visit him in prison, according to news reports. Amarneh still suffers severe health conditions and is in need of medicines that weren’t allowed in according to emails from his relatives CPJ received.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 16, Israel Defense Forces arrested Palestinian journalist Mustafa al-Khawaja, a reporter for the West Bank-based J-Media Network and the Hamas-affiliated channel Al-Aqsa TV, on October 16. He was later placed in administrative detention for six months. The day of his arrest, Israel banned J-Media on security grounds; Al-Aqsa TV has been banned for several years. Around 20 soldiers broke through the gate of al-Khawaja’s home in Ni’lin, west of Ramallah, at around 3 a.m., according to Palestinian press freedom group MADA, citing an interview with al-Khawaja’s brother, Hamada al-Khawaja, and news reports. Soldiers asked for al-Khawaja’s identification, handcuffed him, seized his mobile phone, and drove him to an unknown destination. He was placed under administrative detention for six months on October 26, news reports said. Al-Khawaja has been given access to a lawyer, but his lawyer told CPJ on November 20 that visits to prisoners aren’t allowed. Al-Khawaja’s lawyer believes he is now held in Megiddo Prison, in northern Israel, but was not able to confirm. Al-Khawaja’s family believes he was arrested because of his social media commentary on the Israel-Gaza war.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

On October 15, Israel Defense Forces arrested Palestinian journalist Sabri Jibril, a reporter for the West Bank-based J-Media agency, on October 15, 2023, and later placed him in administrative detention. The day after his arrest, Israel banned J-Media on security grounds. Jibril’s brother, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, told CPJ that they believe that the journalist was arrested for his social media commentary on the 2023 Israel-Gaza war, though they did not specify what comments. According to an October 26 Facebook post by the official Commission of Detainees Affairs and Jibril’s brother, Jibril was placed in administrative detention in Megiddo Prison for six months.

STATUS: Currently imprisoned

Editor’s note: Fathi Atkidik, who appeared on the list of arrested earlier, is a former journalist whose arrest may not be related to his previous journalistic work. CPJ has removed his name from the list while we continue to investigate circumstances surrounding his arrest.

Threats

On November 22, Anas Al-Sharif, a reporter and videographer for Al-Jazeera Arabic in northern Gaza, reported receiving threats from Israeli military officers via the phone, according to Al-Jazeera and the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes. Al-Sharif said on Al-Jazeera that he had received multiple phone calls from officers in the Israeli army instructing him to cease coverage and leave northern Gaza. Additionally, he received voice notes on WhatsApp disclosing his location. However, he emphasized his role as one of the few journalists remaining to cover northern Gaza and stated his determination to stay and continue reporting. The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate issued a statement expressing concern about the imminent risk faced by journalists in the north, citing threats against some of them, including Al-Sharif.

From November 19-26, journalist Motaz Azaiza received multiple threats from anonymous numbers urging him to cease his coverage in northern Gaza and relocate to the south or flee to Egypt, according to his post on X, formerly Twitter, and the Amman-based news outlets Roya News and Al Bawaba. Azaiza has been reporting on the war via his Instagram account, which has over 14 million followers, and has gained significant recognition in the media, as his coverage has provided a window from Gaza to the world.

On November 5, a team of journalists from the German public broadcaster ARD, including ARD correspondent Jan-Christoph Kitzler, accompanied by a Palestinian and a German network employee, were returning from reporting on violence by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. They were stopped by Israeli soldiers south of the Palestinian city of Hebron. The soldiers threatened the journalists with their weapons, and even questioned whether they were Jewish, according to the German television news service Tagesschau and Haaretz. One team member was also called a traitor, according to the same sources. Kitzler posted a photo on the social media platform X, showing one of the soldiers aiming a gun towards him. Kitzler attributed the soldiers’ aggression to the team reporting on increasing settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, writing in his post that “it’s noteworthy that many of the soldiers in that area are settlers themselves, creating an environment where journalists are generally unwelcome.”

Christian Limpert, the head of the ARD Tel Aviv studio, also called the incident as an attempt to obstruct ARD and other international media from reporting in the West Bank, according to Tagesschau and Haaretz.

After more than an hour, the situation eased when the IDF’s Foreign Desk, responsible for foreign correspondents, mediated by telephone. Haaretz reported that the IDF apologized and stated its commitment to ensuring freedom of the press in the West Bank. Limpert reported that days before this incident, soldiers detained an ARD cameraman and his soundman for two hours from reporting on settler violence near Qawawis in South Hebron. During that incident, their phones and camera were temporarily confiscated, according to Haaretz and the Foreign Press Association in Israel (FPA)’s statement.

On October 30, Al-Jazeera’s Gaza Strip correspondent Youmna El-Sayed told the broadcaster that her husband received a threatening phone call from a private number from a man who identified himself as a member of the IDF and told the family “to leave or die,” according to the advocacy group Women In Journalism and CNN Arabic. El-Sayed told Al-Jazeera English that she felt it was too risky to drive on any road in Gaza, especially as two cars had been shelled by a tank earlier in the day and that the previous time her family had tried to flee Gaza City, they had been forced to turn back because of Israel’s bombardment of southern Gaza.

On October 15, RT Arabic correspondent Dalia Nammari and her crew, who held Israeli press cards, were stopped by Israeli police at the border for identity checks, according to RT Arabic and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. One officer threatened Dalia with his weapon and they warned the crew not to return to the location or else they risked arrest, those sources said.

On October 15, a video posted by Al-Araby TV depicted an Israeli police officer shouting and swearing at their correspondent while he was reporting live from Ashdod in southern Israel. The journalist said on air that the officer was armed.

On October 14, Al-Jazeera shared footage from an area in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip, known as the Gaza envelope, showing four IDF soldiers ordering Al-Jazeera journalists to stop filming and leave the area immediately. The incident was also covered by Arabia News 24.

CPJ’s emails requesting comment on these incidents from the IDF spokesperson for North America and the Israeli police did not receive any replies.

Cyberattacks

On November 11, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate announced that its website had been subjected to cyberattacks. The syndicate added that they believed it was a targeted attack due to their role in reporting on crimes committed against journalists, according to the syndicate and Rania Khayyat, who was working for the syndicate and spoke with CPJ.

On November 10, Plestia Alaqad, a Palestinian journalist whose Instagram reporting from Gaza has been featured by NBC News and The New York Times, said on X, formerly Twitter, that she had experienced multiple hacking incidents on her Instagram account. This was also reported by Sinar Daily. Several other journalists reporting from Gaza through Instagram also reported hacking attempts. Journalist Yara Eid suggested that these incidents might be politically motivated cyberattacks aimed at undermining the credibility and work of Palestinian journalists, according to the Coalition For Women in Journalism and Sinar Daily.

On November 3, Al-Mamlaka TV in Jordan experienced cyberattacks on its website, according to a statement by the channel and the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes. The channel said on X, formerly Twitter, that this attack was related to its coverage of the war in Gaza.

On October 31, Al-Jazeera released a statement confirming that its websites and servers were targeted in a cyberattack, attributed to its coverage of the Israel-Gaza war. Al-Jazeera disclosed that certain attackers’ IP addresses were linked to a party actively participating in the ongoing conflict, while other IPs made efforts to mask their true origins, according to Al-Jazeera and the Lebanese news website Al-Modon.

On October 18,  the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, Wafa, experienced a cyberattack that disrupted its news website, according to Wafa and the Amman-based news outlet Roya News. “This attack is part of a broader effort to suppress Palestinian media and silence platforms of truth,” Wafa said. CPJ was unable to determine who carried out the attack.

On October 9, The Jerusalem Post reported that its website was down due to a series of cyberattacks the previous day. The group Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility for these attacks on Telegram, Axios and Time magazine reported.

Censorship

On November 23, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi proposed a government resolution to cease any state advertising, subscriptions, or other commercial connections with the Haaretz daily newspaper, according to Haaretz and The Times of Israel. He cited what he described as the publication’s “defeatist and false propaganda” against the State of Israel during wartime. However, the Cabinet did not approve the proposal, likely due to criticism from the Union of Journalists, which slammed it as “harmful to freedom of the press” and a “populist” maneuver to curry favor with the political base. Karhi, who led efforts to pass emergency regulations to shut down foreign broadcasters deemed harmful to national security, also included domestic media in his initial draft, the Times of Israel reported.

On November 12, Israel’s security cabinet approved a decision to shut down the Lebanon-based broadcaster and the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen TV in Israel. This move aligned with emergency regulations passed last month, enabling the government to close foreign news outlets deemed to be harming national security, as reported by the Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel. According to these sources, the Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi was authorized to order the channel’s Israel offices closed and its equipment confiscated.

On November 8, the Israeli Knesset passed an amendment to the Counter-Terrorism Law, introducing a new criminal offense called the “consumption of terrorist materials,” with a maximum penalty of one year’s imprisonment, according to Al-Jazeera and The Times of Israel. The amendment adds a new offense to Article 24 of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Law, described as the “systematic and continuous consumption of publications of a terrorist organization under circumstances that indicate identification with the terrorist organization.” Several human rights organizations have raised concerns about the ramifications of the law on freedom of expression, press freedom, and journalists. The law’s broad terms could potentially be weaponized against journalists who rely on consuming information from entities or sources designated as “terrorist” by Israel, compromising their work.

On October 30, Rolling Stone magazine announced that the Israeli government denied a press credential to its journalist Jesse Rosenfeld, who has covered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration critically.  “Rolling Stone is not a news organization and we are not dealing with this gentleman, thank you,” Ron Paz, Israel’s director of foreign press, told Rolling Stone on Monday, according to Rolling Stone and The Wrap entertainment website.

On October 29, Israeli authorities shut down Dream radio station, which is based in Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, on the grounds that it was disrupting the movement of their aircraft, according to the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa, Palestinian news agency Maan, and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. The director of the station Talab Al-Jaabari told CPJ that “the head of the Israeli intelligence called me and threatened me with confiscation of equipment. There was no official order.” Dream was previously closed by the IDF in 2015 and 2022

On October 16, Israel proposed new emergency regulations that would allow it to halt media broadcasts that harm “national morale.” Officials have threatened to close Al-Jazeera’s local offices under this proposed rule, and to block the global news outlet from freely reporting on the war.

On October 16, the IDF ordered the West Bank-based J-Media agency to shut down, according to the Palestinian press freedom group MADA and the London-based news website The New Arab. In a statement, the IDF described the media outlet as “an illegal organization” and said its closure was necessary for “the sake of the security of the State of Israel and for the safety of the public and public order,” those sources said, adding that J-Media complied and ceased its operations immediately. J-Media provides footage and media services to broadcasters and covers Palestinian news, according to the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes and CPJ’s review of its website.

More on journalist casualties in the Israel-Gaza conflict

See our safety resources for journalists covering conflict

Editor’s note: The name of the wife of journalist Amer Abu Arafa has been corrected. Her name is Safa Hroub.

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