Israeli soldiers arrested Palestinian journalist Tarek el-Sharif, the host of the call-in radio show “With the People” on the West Bank-based Raya FM station, on November 19, 2023. He has been charged with incitement for his journalism. According to a lawyer with the prisoners’ rights group Addameer, who visited el-Sharif in prison, the journalist said he was beaten during his arrest and in prison.
Israeli soldiers raided el-Sharif’s home at dawn and arrested the journalist, according to the Palestinian press freedom group MADA, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and the London-based news website The New Arab. His wife, Suha Tamim, also confirmed the arrest in an interview with CPJ.
Tala Nasir, a lawyer with Addameer, told CPJ that the journalist was charged with incitement. She said that the charge sheet, which was dated November 19, the day of his arrest, references two instances in which el-Sharif allegedly glorified “martyrs,” or people Israel alleges to be terrorists, on episodes of his show. According to Addameer, the charge usually carries a sentence of six months to two years.
During the 2023 Israel-Gaza war, el-Sharif has been providing daily updates, including reports on Israeli airstrikes on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza and Palestinian casualties including in attacks on Jabalia and Khan Yunis. During the program, he also takes phone calls from people who wish to comment on a particular issue.
Nasir told CPJ that an Addameer representative visited el-Sharif in Ofer Prison, outside Ramallah, and he is allowed just 15 minutes of yard time every other day. Each week, he receives a bottle of shampoo shared among prisoners to clean their bodies and clothes; to disinfect their cells, they use a cup of diluted chloride.
El-Sharif is one of at least 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.
El-Sherif was on the list of the independent party the “Voice of Al-Bireh” for the 2022 local election in the town of Al-Bireh.
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.