Ibrahim al-Zouhairy

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Israeli military forces arrested Palestinian freelance journalist Ibrahim al-Zouhairy, a contributor to Al-Hadath news website, on November 18, 2023. 

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. 

Al-Zouhairy was formerly on staff at Al-Hadath, according to editor-in-chief Rola Sirhan, and now freelances. On his personal Facebook account, Al-Zouahiry shares personal opinions, related to ongoing events in the West Bank and Gaza, and occasionally news. Less than two weeks before his arrest, he posted a video of a person who appears to be a paramedic trying to provide medical aid to an injured person while gunshots ring out and bystanders urge him to leave. A few days earlier he had written a post citing another journalist’s reporting that Iran and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah had given the United States an ultimatum to end the war in Gaza or else wage war against the so-called “Axis of Resistance,” the Iran-led anti-Western coalition. 

The family said that the journalist was initially held in Ofer Prison, in the West Bank, but has been moved to a new location; they do not know where he is being held as of late 2023. 

Al-Zouhairy is one of 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. 

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.