Nawaf al-Amer

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Israeli military forces arrested Palestinian journalist Nawaf al-Amer on October 29. He is being held in administrative detention for six months. Al-Amer´s lawyer, Fadi Qawasmeh, told CPJ that the journalist had been severely beaten by prison guards twice. 

Al-Amer, 62, works for the Palestinian news agency Sanad and provides political commentary to outlets including Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera, Yemeni broadcaster Al-Sahat, and Palestinian news website Felesteen.

Israeli soldiers raided al-Amer’s home in Kafr Qalil, south of the West Bank city Nablus, at 4 a.m. and arrested the journalist, according to his son, Ibrahim al-Amer, who spoke to CPJ, and Al-Shabab local radio in Nablus. Palestinian press freedom group MADA reported that al-Amer’s phone was confiscated in the arrest. Al-Amer wasn’t notified of any charges against him, according to his son.

Al-Amer’s son told CPJ that the journalist was placed in administrative detention for six months beginning November 12. Al-Amer´s son said that his father is in Megiddo Prison, in northern Israel. 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. 

Since the beginning of the 2023 Israel-Gaza war, al-Amer has made numerous television appearances commenting on Israeli airstrikes on civilian areas in Gaza and he wrote an article for Sanad analyzing the body language of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Israeli troops in northern Gaza, concluding that his visit had failed to boost the soldiers’ morale. 

On his personal Facebook account, al-Amer has shared videos of the war in Gaza, including a video of a father mourning the corpse of his son and another video of journalist Mohammad Shehab al-Ghazi under bombing calling on the world stop the war. He also shared a video showing civil defense volunteers returning money and valuables recovered from under the rubble to their owners. On the day of his arrest, al-Amer wrote a post critical of the Egyptian president for what he said was a lukewarm response to the attacks on Gaza.

MADA reported that al-Amer suffers from health issues, including diabetes. His son told CPJ that his father is receiving the medication he needs in prison.

Al-Amer is one of the 17 Palestinian journalists in Israeli custody as of December 1, 2023, the date of CPJ’s annual prison census. Palestinian official 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.

Al-Amer was previously arrested in 2011, when he was working as a program director at the Hamas-affiliated channel Al-Quds TV, and spent 13 months in administrative detention, according to the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes and MADA. Al-Quds, which airs from Lebanon, was banned by Israel in 2018. In 2013, he wrote a book, “Days of Ashes,” recounting his experience in Israeli prisons.

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.