Amer Abu Arafa is a reporter covering local political and human rights issues in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including the city of Hebron, for London-based Quds Press and other news organizations. Abu Arafa previously covered the area for the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers arrested Abu Arafa on July 19, 2022, from his home in Hebron, according to his employer as well as reports from the Palestinian Authority affiliated news agency WAFA and Shehab News. Shehab News quoted his wife Safaa al-Hroub as saying that about 30 soldiers arrived at the house in four military vehicles, raided the home, and blindfolded and handcuffed Abu Arafa before taking him away. The soldiers also took 24,000 shekels (US$6,980) during the raid. An IDF spokesperson told CPJ at the time that Abu Arafa was arrested “on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity.”
Prior to his arrest, Abu Arafa had reported on local politics, Israeli policies toward Palestinians in Jerusalem, and the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
In August 2022, an Israeli military court ordered Abu Arafa to be held in administrative detention for four months as Israel continued its investigation, according to Quds Press and the Mada Center, a Palestinian press freedom organization. Administrative detention allows Israeli authorities to hold a suspect indefinitely without official charges or trial, based on classified evidence that they could be a threat, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. On November 16, 2022, Quds Press reported that an Israeli military court extended Abu Arafa’s detention another four months.
As of late 2022, Abu Arafa is being held in Ofer Prison outside Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, according to Quds Press. CPJ was not able to confirm whether Abu Arafa had access to a lawyer or the status of his health in prison.
Israeli authorities previously detained Abu Arafa for nearly two years starting in 2011, and Palestinian Authorities forces also detained him in 2017.
CPJ emailed the IDF’s North American media desk for comment on Abu Arafa’s case in September 2022, but received no response.