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Israeli border police use intimidation and violence against Palestinian journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the Israeli government to end its policy of preventing Palestinian journalists from covering events in Jerusalem following the latest intimidation and violence carried out by Israeli border police last week.

According to IFJ affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), Palestinian and international journalists and cameramen covering events at Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day, Wednesday, 28 May, were forced to move far away from the scene by border police officers despite the fact they were standing in an area designated for media.

There were also reports that journalists were pushed, kicked and blocked from working. One photographer was punched in the stomach while he had his hands in the air, while another was hit in the stomach with a rifle.

Border police are also said to have thrown stun grenades directly at photographers, and police failed to prevent demonstrators from attacking journalists. In one case marchers snatched a large tripod from a photographer and beat him with it.

The PJS has condemned the attacks, stating that they are the latest attempt by the Israeli government and its forces to undermine freedom of expression among Palestinian journalists and prevent the truth being told.

“The reports of abuse and violence on Jerusalem Day are the latest in a catalogue of targeted attacks against Palestinian and international media workers covering events in Jerusalem,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “Such blatant disregard for the rights, freedoms and lives of journalists can no longer be tolerated.

"We call for the Israeli government to end this policy of intimidation and aggression against journalists who are simply doing their jobs, and we reiterate our appeal for them to keep Israeli forces in check. This flagrant abuse of power and lack of respect for media freedom must end now.”

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