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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Israël, prédateur de journalistes palestiniens

by Pierre Barbancey

Israel, Predator of Palestinian Journalists

Translated Thursday 28 April 2016, by Henry Crapo

Omar Nazzai, editor in chief of a Palestinian television chain, Palestine Al Youm [1] was arrested by the Israeli army while on his way to a colloquium organised by the European Federation of Journalists.

Several dozen journalists assembled on Sunday in front of the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR) in Ramallah. They were there to stage a protest against the arrest of Omar Nazzal, a member of the secretariat of Palestinian journalists. Our colleague was on his way to a conference in Bosnia, at the invitation of the European Federation of Journalists (FEJ), which has condemned this detention. Its president, Mogens Blicher Bjerregard, demands "the immediate release" of Nazzal. He was taken into custody at the frontier between the occupied west bank and Jordan. His wife said that he had first been detained at the point of passage set up by the Israeli, before being arrested. "I have no idea what has happened to him since he told me on Saturday by telephone that he had been arrested by Israel", she declared, adding that she does not know where he is now.

Tel-Aviv accuses Palestine Al Yaum of "inciting" the Palestinians to violence

The Palestinian journalists demonstrated in front of the Red Cross headquarters because it is the sole international organisation with permission to visit Palestinians detained by the Israeli authorities. Now, there is no news of Omar Nazzal. "We have explained to the CICR that one must imperatively and rapidly visit Omar Nazzal in order to know the conditions of his arrest", explained Moussa Chaar, a member of the general secretariat of the union. Another union representative, Abou Bakr, described the arrest of Nazzal as "a new crime, in the chain of crimes perpetrated by the occupation, against Palestinian journalists." In March, the International Federation of Journalists (FIJ) had denounced "the continuous attacks" by Israel against the Palestinian media.

Omar Nazzal is the editor in chief of Palestine Al Yaum, a television chain, of which the Ramallah bureau was recently closed by force by the Israeli army. Tel-Aviv accuses Palestine Al Yaum of "inciting" the Palestinians to violence. Inciting to violence, in Israeli discourse, includes any denunciation of the occupation and of colonization. In addition to Palestine Al Youm, many other Palestinian media have been closed in recent months, their offices often looted, and computers carried off. Palestinian journalists are an obvious target. During the Israeli offensive against Gaza in July 2014, fourteen of them were killed in the exercise of their profession, and in an insupportable and general indifference.

Since 2015, forty-three journalists have been imprisoned by the Israelis

Yet it is they who, at the peril of their lives, bring us images often used by western media, but not credited by name to those journalists. The committee of Palestinain journalists also revealed that Israel prohibits from entering Gaza all material for protection of journalists, such as bullet-proof jackets or helmets, sent in solidarity by associations.

Since October 2015, forty-three journalist, including two foreign journalists, have been imprisoned by the Israelis (several, including one woman, are still in prison) according to the Support Committee for Palestinian Journalists, based in New York. Cases of torture and of medical negligence have been revealed. The attack against Palestinian media, the arrests and interrogations, are motivated by a will to silence witnesses to exactions practiced by the army of occupation and by colonisers in the West Bank.

[1Palestine Today

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