Share on

Stockholm - Skyline International for Human Rights expresses its deep concern over the escalation of violations against Palestinian journalists and media freedom by the Israeli authorities, social media and internal Palestinian parties. It stresses  that restriction and persecution it has observed seriously violate a wide range of international conventions guaranteeing special protection for journalists, and has called on the international community to play a more effective role in this aspect.

In a statement released today (Friday), Skyline denounces the startling 53 violations of press freedom that were reported in May 2023, per the report by the "Journalists Support Committee," an Arab group that keeps track of such violations in the Palestinian territories.

Skyline notes that in May of last year, there were more than 37 Israeli assaults against journalists working on the ground or in Israeli jails. Additionally, the report documented 8 assaults by internal Palestinian parties in the West Bank, and it documented 8 instances of social media attacks against Palestinian content.

While covering the Israeli army's attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem, eight journalists were hurt and attacked by some settlers and members of the Israeli army. To stop the journalists from covering and attending the event, the army used rubber bullets and poison gas bombs. They also insulted, kicked, and threw bottles and stones at the journalists in front of the settlers.

According to "Skyline", the Israeli army arrested and summoned three journalists, including journalist "Ramzi Abbasi", who is still in custody, and journalist "Asif Nofal", as well as the driver of the "Wafa" agency, Ahmed Qazzaz.

Concerning the postponement of court proceedings as well as the extension and confirmation of detention, four violations were discovered after Israeli authorities extended the detention of journalist "Ramzi Abbasi" three times in a row and confirmed the detention of journalist "Mohammed Badr" for four months.

 

Furthermore, Israeli forces prevented reporting on the army's incursions in Palestinian territories in the West Bank in over 15 cases and prevented them from working, including insults and threats, with one threat case being registered.

After Israeli warplanes shelled a nearby house in the heart of Gaza City, the home of journalist "Youssef Fares," a correspondent for the satellite channel "Tunisia," was severely damaged, with doors and windows broken and shell fragments falling inside.

As for the harassment and torture of detained journalists in Israeli prisons, 6 cases were registered. For example, writer Walid Daqqa, who has been imprisoned for more than 37 years, was medically neglected several times after he was transferred to Assaf Harofeh Hospital for choking attacks. After a severe respiratory infection and contamination at a site where his right lung was removed, he was transferred to Ramla Prison Hospital without medical care, although his condition was very serious.

As for social media violations, "Skyline" followed Meta's ongoing violations against Palestinian content, which are constantly deleted and restricted, as more than (8) cases were observed in which Facebook deleted, suspended and closed 6 pages and accounts, including one agency, the "Safa agency account", and "Sahat" platforms and their content were blocked. The Instagram platform also registered a block and a warning received by journalists for their coverage of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip.

In May 2023, (8) cases of internal Palestinian violations were recorded, including the closure of a cultural institution in Qalqilya, the Palestine Bird Cultural Center, with iron bars without warning and the confiscation of the center's property. In addition, two cases of assault by Palestinian security forces against journalists "Jaafar Shtayyeh" and his son "Zein" have been registered. There were also two instances of preventing them from filming and two instances of arbitrary detention for several hours.

In the Gaza Strip, a case of assault was registered, namely the summoning of the journalist "Hani Abu Rizk", correspondent of the newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, for interrogation, from which he was later released.

Skyline stresses that the unjustified attacks that have been observed are a blatant violation of the legal provisions that guarantee freedom of opinion, expression and press freedom, and stresses that the relevant international bodies must play their role in monitoring the violations of the Israeli army, social networks and internal authorities.

According to Skyline, the international community's negative response to the Israeli apparatus's violations of the right to freedom of opinion, expression, and journalistic work, particularly the attacks on journalists, and the lack of legal oversight over its work, provides an implicit cover for Israel's continued violations.

At the end of its statement, Skyline human calls on the Israeli authorities to stop their constant attacks on Palestinian journalists, to work for the release of all those detained, and to ensure that the security and military services respect members of the press as they work to cover events in the Palestinian territories. Attention is drawn to the restrictive practices against Palestinian content and the need to respect the rules of freedom of opinion and expression enshrined in international law.