JANUARY 8, 2004
Posted: January 29, 2004
Saifeddin Shahin, Al-Arabiyya
Shahin, Gaza correspondent for the Dubai-based satellite news channel,
Al-Arabiyya, was attacked and beaten by five armed men after the car
he was in was stopped by the men at a major Gaza city intersection.
Shahin told CPJ that the attack, which occurred at around 1 p.m. and
was witnessed by several pedestrians and people in other cars, lasted
a few minutes. Shahin said that the armed men, four of whom were hooded
stopped the car forced Shahin out of the vehicle. A passenger that
was traveling with Shahin was not allowed to exit the car and was
Shahin said the men beat him with their fists, clubs, and rifle butts
and fired shots in the air, scaring pedestrians and, according to
Shahin, damaging a building in the vicinity. Shahin said that the
man, who was not wearing a hood, claimed that they were from Fatah,
a Palestinian militant group linked to Yasser Arafat, and told Shahin
not to talk about Fatah again in his reports. Shahin said that he
was treated at a local hospital for injuries to his shoulder, arm,
head, and back.
Shahin said that he did not know what segment triggered the attack,
but said that recently he had done a piece on a Fatah celebration
marking the anniversary of the founding of the group. Shahin thinks
that the station's reporting on internal cracks within Fatah may be
the source of the attack. A colleague of Shahin's thought that what
may have upset Fatah was that the celebration was portrayed as disorganized.
Shahin said that he received threatening phone calls from people claiming
to represent Fatah a few days before the attack. He also said that
a Fatah official spokesman denied Fatah's involvement in the attack,
but expressed apologies for what happened to Shahin. According to
Shahin, the group is very fragmented and a certain faction of the
group could have been responsible.
Shahin said that based on his descriptions of the unhooded armed man
to Palestinian Authority police, a man was detained soon after the
attack, but released after a short detention. Shahin said that he
doubts that anybody will be apprehended and prosecuted for the attack.
FEBRUARY 2, 2004
Posted: February 5, 2004
Al-Quds Educational Television
Haroun Abu Arrah, Al-Quds Educational Television
Abdel Ghani Velbiessi, Al-Quds Educational Television
At around 4:00 a.m. on Monday, February 2, three masked Palestinian
men carrying automatic rifles stormed the offices of the Ramallah-based
Al-Quds Educational Television, according to staff. Assistant Manager
Haroun Abu Arrah, one of two station employees present at the time,
told CPJ that one of the men demanded a "tape," and when Abu Arrah
asked for clarification the assailants began beating him and intern
Velbiessi with rifle butts and fists.
Abu Arrah said that after the beating, two of the assailants went
into another room and fired several rounds at some of the station’s
equipment, destroying computer screens and video equipment. During
the shooting, Abu Arrah and Velbiessi fled the building.
Abu Arrah and station Director Ayman Bardawil said Palestinian police
are investigating the incident, but that no arrests have been made.
Neither men are aware of a motive for the assault and noted that the
station had not aired anything controversial in recent days, nor had
it received any threats.
FEBRUARY 3, 2004
Posted: February 5, 2004
Employees of the recently established Gaza City weekly newspaper Al-Daar
discovered when they returned to work from the Eid al-Adha holiday
that day that most of the computer equipment in the office had been
destroyed by unknown assailants. Hassan al-Kashif, the magazine’s
editor in chief, told CPJ he believes that the vandalism came in retaliation
for the magazine’s editorial stance against official Palestinian corruption.
Palestinian sources told CPJ that Al-Daar—which is close to
former Palestinian preventive security chief Mohamed Dahlan, who is
a leader in Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization—may have been attacked
because of internal political conflicts within Fatah.
MARCH 9, 2004
Posted: March 9, 2004
Saif Dahla, Agence-France Presse
Palestinian photographer Saif Dahla was shot by Israel Defense
Forces (IDF) in the West Bank city of Jenin. Two witnesses-Dahla's
brother, Reuters photographer Said Dahla and Reuters cameraman Ali
Samoudi-told CPJ that there were about half a dozen journalists standing
together on the sidewalk of a residential neighborhood in Jenin, covering
an Israeli incursion into the city in the early afternoon when the
Said Dahla and Samoudi said that Saif Dahla was shot when a soldier
in a tank about 20 meters (22 yards) away fired a few rounds from
a machine gun. One of the bullets, or shrapnel, injured Saif Dahla
in his left leg. The journalists said that prior to the incident,
Palestinian youths had been throwing stones at the tank, but that
when the shooting occurred, the area was quiet. Samoudi said that
gunfire exchanges between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in
the city prior to the incident did not occur in the vicinity where
the journalists were working.
Both journalists said that they were clearly identifiable as members
of the press, wearing flak jackets, helmets, and marked clothing.
They also said that they had been working in the area for more than
an hour, adding that the Israeli soldiers in the tank that fired upon
them and in other vehicles that were in the vicinity had seen them
working the whole time.
According to the journalists, when Dahla was shot, they rushed him
into a nearby home, and an ambulance arrived later to take him to
a local hospital. Both journalists said that as they were moving Dahla
into the house, another burst of gunfire came from the tank.
Said Dahla told CPJ that his brother went home after being treated
for his wounds, which he said were not serious.
An Israeli army spokesperson, Major Sharon Feingold told CPJ that
Israeli troops entered Jenin to arrest a "senior terrorist," and that
"there was a massive exchange of gunfire, it seems as if an AFP photographer
was very lightly wounded." Feingold added that the soldiers involved
in today's operation are being debriefed, and that the army is "trying
to find out if it was IDF gunfire that accidentally injured the photographer."
MARCH 22, 2004
Posted: March 23, 2004
Mohamed Abu Halima, journalism student and radio correspondent for
According to local Palestinian journalists, Abu Halima, who was
a journalism student at Al-Najah University in Nablus and a correspondent
for university-affiliated Al-Najah radio station, was shot at the
entrance of the Balata refugee camp, outside the city of Nablus. Abu
Halima, who also worked as a freelance photographer, was reporting
on Israeli troop activity near the camp.
Moaz Shraida, a producer and host at the station who was speaking
to the journalist moments before he was killed, said that Abu Halima
described three Israeli jeeps about a mile (2 kilometers) away from
the camp’s entrance, where he was standing. Shraida said that Abu
Halima told him that he had begun to take photographs of the jeeps.
Shraida said that he then heard gunfire and lost contact with Abu
Shraida spoke later to Abu Halima’s cousin who was at the scene. The
cousin said that Abu Halima was struck by Israeli gunfire in the stomach
and died at a local hospital. CPJ has not been able to speak with
Abu Halima’s cousin or independently confirm his account.
A family member of Abu Halima told CPJ that Abu Halima was dressed
in street clothing the day of the shooting. Local journalists told
CPJ that witnesses they spoke to said that Abu Halima was standing
among a crowd of people at the entrance of the camp when he was shot.
The journalists also said that prior to the shooting there had been
clashes in the area between Palestinian youths and the Israeli army.
In a voicemail message to CPJ, a spokesman for the Israel Defense
Force who identified himself as Sam Weiderman said that "as far as
we know, [Abu Halima] was not a journalist"; that Abu Halima "was
armed and he opened fire on IDF forces"; and that the IDF "returned
CPJ is continuing to investigate the case.
APRIL 23, 2004
Posted: July 23, 2004
Jamal Aruri, Agence France-Presse
Aruri, a photographer with the news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP),
was severely beaten by three masked Palestinians armed with sticks
and clubs when he exited his car near his home in Ramallah late in
Aruri and another Palestinian journalist familiar with the case believe
that the attackers were affiliated with the Palestinian Authority,
possibly militants with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is considered
close to Yasser Arafat's ruling Fatah movement.
Aruri said the attack stemmed from a photo he had taken several months
earlier outside the Muqata, Palestinian Authority President Yasser
Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah. He said that the photo was of several
men who were wanted by Israeli authorities who had either been summoned
to, or had taken refuge in, Arafat's compound.
Aruri said that Arafat's office harassed him and warned him to be
careful about what he photographed after AFP published the photo but
said that he was not physically harmed.
In April, AFP did a story on Arafat expelling wanted militants from
his compound, some of whom were in the photo that Aruri had taken.
Aruri said the original photo he had taken was still accessible on
AFP's archive and on Web sites, and that it was published again.
He said that the militants who were in his photo were angered by its
republication, and that they, or someone sent by them, attacked him,
beating him repeatedly with clubs and sticks. The assault was so brutal
that Aruri broke his left arm, severely cut his right hand, and had
numerous bruises all over his face and body.
The assailants also destroyed two of his cameras and some computer
equipment he had with him at the time. Aruri could not work for more
than a month due to his injuries and is still given less rigorous
After complaints by Palestinian journalists to the Palestinian Authority,
Aruri received an apology from the Palestinian Authority.
MAY 19, 2004
Posted: May 20, 2004
James Bennet, The New York Times
Three Palestinian men attempted to abduct Bennet, the Jerusalem correspondent
for The New York Times, while he was standing outside Al-Najar
Hospital, near Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
According to Bennet, who described the incident in a story published
in The Times, at least three Palestinian men attempted the
kidnapping while he stood outside the hospital talking on his cell
phone. Bennet wrote that a "stranger approached offering a handshake,
a smile and the word, 'Welcome.'" When the journalist went to shake
the man's hand, a second man grabbed him and tried to push him into
a Mercedes car that pulled up at the scene.
After Bennet struggled with the men and shouted for help, Palestinian
police officers rushed to the scene, and the men fled in the car.
Bennet said that while at the hospital, he had identified himself
as an American.
A motive for the attempted abduction is unclear. However, Bennet said
in his dispatch that, "Anger at Americans has been building here for
three years over the Bush administration's perceived tilt toward Israel,
the occupation of Iraq and, most recently, images of prisoner abuse
in Iraq....An American might also be considered valuable for use in
bargaining with Israel."
MAY 26, 2004
Posted: June 10, 2004
Peter Hounam, BBC
Hounam, a freelance journalist from Britain, was detained overnight
by Israel's internal security services, Shin Bet.
The journalist was in the country working on a documentary for the
BBC on Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear whistleblower who was recently
released after spending 18 years in an Israeli prison for revealing
nuclear secrets to Hounam. In 1986, Hounam broke the story of Israel's
nuclear program by writing an article for the London-based Sunday
The terms of Vanunu's release prohibit him from meeting with foreigners,
including members of the foreign press, unless approved by government
Hounam wrote an article describing his detention, which was published
in the Sunday Times on May 30. In the article, Hounam said
he was detained as he was driving to the home of Yael Lotan, an Israeli
journalist who had conducted interviews with Vanunu on his behalf
for the documentary. Israeli plainclothes agents took Hounam back
to his hotel, where they searched his room and confiscated his belongings.
Hounam said he was then taken to the Shin Bet's offices in Jerusalem
for questioning, where he spent the night. Agents questioned him about
the whereabouts of the Vanunu interview tapes. The next day, officials
told Hounam he was suspected of "spying on Israeli nuclear secrets."
Authorities released the journalist on the evening of May 27 and returned
his personal belongings after the British Embassy and Hounam's Israeli
attorneys intervened on his behalf. The journalist left Israel on
A few days before Hounam's detention, Chris Mitchell, a BBC producer
working with Hounam, was briefly detained at Ben Gurion Airport in
Tel Aviv. Officials confiscated Mitchell's videotapes and his cell
phone. The journalist's belongings were never returned.
MAY 5, 2004
Posted: June 16, 2004
Mahmoud Al-Hams, Agence-France Press
Al-Hams, a photographer working with Agence France-Presse, was injured
by shrapnel and bullet wounds from Israel Defense Forces fire to both
legs as he was working in Deir El Balah, a town in central Gaza, according
to the journalist and several press reports.
Al-Hams told CPJ that he and several other journalists had gone to
the area in the morning to cover an Israeli incursion into the town.
He said that he and several other journalists wore clothing and gear
clearly identifying themselves as journalists. The Associated Press,
citing witnesses, reported that there were no armed clashes between
Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers at the time. Al-Hams said
Palestinian youths were throwing stones at the Israeli troops and
tanks, which he and other journalists were photographing or filming.
One Palestinian journalist at the scene who spoke to CPJ confirmed
Al-Hams said that he was about 50 meters (165 feet) away from the
Israeli troop position, which included at least one tank, and that
he and other Palestinian journalists were not standing near the young
Al-Hams was wounded when machine gunfire from an Israeli tank struck
him in both legs. He said he saw the Israeli soldier fire in his direction.
Press reports said several other people were wounded in the incident.
Al-Hams told CPJ that his injuries were not serious. He left the hospital
after one night.
One day after the shooting, a spokesman for the Israeli army announced
that the circumstances of the incident were under investigation, according
to Agence-France Presse. The press agency's Jerusalem bureau told
CPJ that it had heard nothing since then.
JULY 20, 2004
Posted: July 21, 2004
The pro–Palestinian Authority Palestinian Journalists' Association
threatened local journalists covering internal strife among Palestinian
militant and political organizations. According to Reuters, which
reported a partial text of the statement, the association announced
a ban "on dealing with or handling any type of statements that touch
on internal events and carry between their lines words that slander,
libel or harm others." The statement said journalists who violated
this code would be punished, though it did not specify the punishment.
Several Palestinian journalists told CPJ they have ignored the order
but have become more cautious in their reporting for fear of reprisal.
Similarly, in August 2002, the syndicate tried to bar journalists
from photographing Palestinian children wearing military uniforms
or carrying weapons, arguing that such footage violated children's
rights and served "the interests of Israel and its propaganda against
the Palestinian people." The order was rescinded a few days later
amid local and international protest.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2004
Posted: September 28, 2004
Riad Ali, CNN
Ali, a veteran CNN producer, was kidnapped at gunpoint from a
car on a main street in Gaza City. Ali had arrived in Gaza just hours
before gunmen seized him from a car at about 6:30 p.m. local time.
CNN colleagues, including correspondent Ben Wedeman, were also passengers
in the car. A veteran CNN producer, Ali had handled a number of earlier
assignments in Gaza.
Ali was freed the next day. CNN said a tape surfaced shortly before
Ali's release in which the producer said he was being held by the
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant Palestinian group with ties to
Fatah, the group headed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Ali said on the tape that he is a Druze, a minority Arab population
in Israel whose members often serve in the Israeli army. He called
for the Druze not to serve in the Israeli army. No other demands were