Amer Abu Arafa

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Israeli military forces arrested Palestinian journalist Amer Abu Arafa, a freelance reporter for the London-based Palestinian news agency Quds Press and Gaza-based Shehab news agency. on November 8, 2023. He was later placed in administrative detention for six months. 

Israeli soldiers assaulted and arrested reporter Abu Arafa after raiding his home in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, according to journalist’s brother Ammar Abu Arafa, Palestinian press freedom group MADA, and news reports. The journalist’s brother told CPJ that Abu Arafa’s phone was confiscated in the arrest.​

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. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold detainees for six months without charge if they suspect the detainee of planning to commit a future offense, and then extend the detention an unlimited number of times, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Judges may accept evidence against the detainee without disclosing it on security grounds. 

Abu Arafa has reported widely on the 2023 Israel-Gaza war, including stories on Israel’s ground offensive and military strategy in Gaza, Hamas’s use of Israeli hostages for propaganda purposes, and Israeli authorities’ alleged abuse of Palestinian prisoners. Abu Arafa has also commented on the war on his Facebook account, which counts some 6,200 followers, sharing news about the ground offensive in Gaza, Israeli army casualties, and Palestinian arrests. He also shares opinions and satirical comments on the page, including about Hamas’s taking of hostages during its Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and Hamas’s videos of the Israeli hostages

Abu Arafa is one of the 17 Palestinian journalists in Israeli custody as of December 1, 2023, the date of CPJ’s annual prison census. Palestinian officials say Israeli forces have conducted mass arrests in the occupied West Bank since October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, prompting Israel to declare war on the militant group. Dozens of members of the press have died, the vast majority Palestinian journalists and media workers killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. There have also been numerous reports of assault, threats, cyberattacks, and censorship. 

Abu Arafa was previously arrested and placed under administrative detention in July 2022 without charges or trial and was released just four months ago, his brother said. He said that Abu Arafa requires medication for paranasal sinus issues. 

CPJ emailed the Israel Security Agency, also known as the Shin Bet, in late 2023 for comment on the cases of imprisoned Palestinian journalists but received no response.

Editor’s note: The third paragraph was updated to correct the name of Abu Arafa’s wife.