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Israeli forces detain six Palestinian journalists in the West Bank

UPDATE: Journalists under fire in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (RSF, 24 March 2014)

On 22 March 2014, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) detained six Palestinian journalists in different locations in the West Bank while on the job.

Those detained were Dubai TV correspondent Mohamed Assayed, Associated Press cameraman Mohamed Hassan and producer Rami Abdu, French Agency photographer Mousa Alshaer, Alquds Dot Com photographer Abd-Alrahman Younis, and an American photographer who is yet to be identified.

Assayed reported to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) on 23 March that he went with his colleagues Mohamed Hassan and Rami Abdu to prepare a report near Zatarra checkpoint near Nablus, during which they were approached by border soldiers who asked them to stop filming and to hand over their identification cards.

Forty-five minutes later, they were asked to head to the control tower at the checkpoint. "At the time, we thought we were going to be detained for a long period of time, so we called to inform the Associated Press office , we were released 2 hours and 15 minutes later," said Assayed. "It's not the first time we get exposed to violations by the occupation, we have faced the most difficult and the most serious violations, but we will continue to deliver our message and our voice to the world."

Mousa Alshaer reported to MADA that he headed over to the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem to cover the clashes that erupted but the occupation forces that were heavily present in the area prevented him and his colleague Abd-Alrahman Younis from doing their jobs. "We were standing away from the clashes and closer to the army," said Alshaer, "they asked us to walk towards the clashes, but we refused told them that it was a dangerous area. Their reaction was to confiscate our personal identification cards and to keep us detained for an hour and a half."

Tensions in the West Bank have been rising recently and Israeli forces have stepped up their crackdown on journalists during the past week, whereby they prevented Ma'an TV cameraman Jalal Hamied as well as photographers Younis and Alshaer on 18 March from covering an incident where a military jeep in Tekoa near Beit Sahour was flipped over. Hamied was also attacked by Israeli soldiers. "IOF soldiers prevented my colleagues and I from covering the incident," he said. "I was at the forefront so one soldier grabbed me from the neck violently and pushed me about six meters to the back."

On 17 March, IOF soldiers detained Palestine Today TV correspondent Fida Nasser for a few hours after she was attacked by Israeli settlers who beat her and sprayed her with red wine. Nasser reported to MADA that she was preparing a report about the effects of Jewish holidays on Palestinian citizens in the city of Hebron. She was near the entrance of Martyr's Street when she was attacked by settlers. A female settler called the Israeli forces and accused Nasser of pushing and attacking her. "The soldiers detained me until the police arrived," she said, "They forced me to accompany them to the police station after I refused to do so voluntarily. I was charged with assaulting a female settler who was to present to testify. Even though I denied the charges, they tried to prove me wrong using all means possible. They then photographed me, took my fingerprints and then released me after I signed a paper stating that I should attend the station at any time I am "called.: The detention process Lasted from 11 am until 4:15 pm.

MADA condemns all violations committed by the occupation against journalists. We ask the International community to take immediate action to stop the violations that endanger the lives of journalists and hamper their work, which is a blatant violation of freedom of expression guaranteed in international conventions.

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