Palestinian Journalists Under Fire

by Vins

On December 5, 2014, an Israeli soldier shot Palestinian cameraman Bashar Nazzal (Saleh*) at a demonstration in the northern West Bank. According to Haaretz, the soldier was “
part of a joint IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and Border Police force that was given the task of dispersing the demonstration by force.” The exact identity of the shooter has not been made public and “[i]t’s still unclear if the Israeli Authorities will investigate.”

Bashar Nazzal, a 36-year-old Palestine TV cameraman from Qalqiliya, had covered the Kafr Qaddum village demonstrations for the past four years. The demonstrations, held every Friday, protest the closure of the main road between the village and its closest neighbor, Nablus, as a result of Israeli expansion of the Kedumim settlement. The shooting occurred only minutes into the demonstration when Nazzal, who noted that he was easily identified as a member of the press, was filming a group of five armed Israeli soldiers. Despite an operation on his shattered shin, the injury has interfered with his ability to work. “Palestinian journalists claim there has been an increase in direct military assaults against them in the last year,” and many journalists interpret these assaults as a message from the IDF to stop covering Palestinian demonstrations.

The IDF deems the Palestinian demonstrations illegal, but, according to their spokesman, press coverage is permitted. Attempts by Nazzal’s lawyer to contact Israeli officials have either been redirected to other departments or met with claims that the incident was not severe enough to warrant a criminal investigation.

The targeting of journalists by Israeli forces in Gaza has appeared in some corporate news coverage in recent months, especially after the release of a Reporters Without Borders report, these independent news articles focus on the aftermath of these events and question the accountability of the IDF for violent acts against Palestinian journalists.

* Bashar’s last name was inconsistent in the reporting. The Ma’an News Agency and Alakhbar English articles used “Nazzal,” whereas the Haaretz article used “Saleh.”

Sources:

“Israeli Forces Shoot Palestinian Cameraman In West Bank As Settler Violence Continues,” Alakhbar English, December 5, 2014, http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/22769.

Amira Hass, “Palestinian Journalists Increasingly Finding Themselves in the Line of IDF Fire,” Haaretz, February 15, 2015, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.642481.

Jack Mirkinson, “Israel Accused of ‘Deliberately Targeting’ Journalists by Press Freedom Group,” Huffington Post, July 8, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/08/israel-targeting-journalists-reporters-without-borders_n_5567565.html.

“Palestinian Cameraman Shot by Israeli Forces at Qalqiliya Demo,” Ma’an News, December 5, 2014, http://www.maannews.com/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?id=745011.

Student Researcher: Alana Carrara (College of Marin)

Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)

Review Article with Credder

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