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Israeli soldiers assault, harass journalists

(MADA/IFEX) - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns the Israeli occupation forces' deliberate firing of rubber bullets at a Chinese news agency photographer, Nidal Ishtieh, in the village of Oraq Burin, near Nablus.

Ishtieh said that at noon on 6 February 2010 he went to cover a confrontation between Israeli settlers and people from Oraq Burin after a number of settlers vandalised a water well used by the village's farmers to irrigate their crops. The Israeli army was in the area, and while Ishtieh was covering the confrontation a soldier approached and ordered him to stop. When Ishteh insisted on continuing his coverage, the soldier shot him with rubber bullets, wounding him in his left foot. As a result, he was unable to continue his work and was treated by a medical team that was at the site.

MADA also condemns the Israeli occupation forces' detention of a bus that was carrying fifty journalists at the Container checkpoint on the evening of 6 January. The journalists were returning to Hebron from Ramallah after having voted in a journalists' syndicate election. MADA also denounces the assault of Raed Al-atrash, the Baladna local radio producer and presenter in Hebron, who was on the bus.

Al-atrash said the Israeli soldiers ordered them to disembark from the bus, confiscated their identity cards and spoke to them using obscenities. Al-atrash told a soldier to stop using obscenities; particularly because there were ten female journalists with them. An argument ensured after which the soldier pushed Al-atrash, handcuffed him and took him to a closed room. The identity cards were returned to the rest of journalists and they were ordered to leave, but they refused to go until Al-atrash was released. Al-atrash said, "They detained me for about an hour and a half. They provoked me using gestures and words, and then the officer came and made me sign a paper which stated that I was not tortured and that they did not inspect my personal belongings. Then they released me."

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