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Israeli Defense Forces deliberately fire teargas at Jordanian TV crew

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 4 July 2015.

Israeli troops deliberately fired teargas at two Palestinians journalists with Jordan's Ro'ya TV while they were covering a peaceful Palestinian demonstration near Jaba, a village north of Jerusalem, on 2 July.

The demonstration was held to mark the first anniversary of the death of Mohamed Abou Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian who was murdered a few days after three young Israelis were kidnapped and murdered near the West Bank city of Hebron.

Ro'ya TV posted a video online showing Palestinian Territories bureau chief Nebal Farsakh and cameraman Mohamed Shousha being targeted although they were wearing bulletproof vests marked “Press.” They were taken to a hospital with facial burns.

“The Israeli security forces must respect the physical integrity of journalists who are just doing their job by covering demonstrations,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Middle East and Maghreb desk. “We remind them that the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in March 2014 recognizing that journalists play an essential role by covering protests.”

The incident was not isolated. Israeli police used force to prevent a crew with Russian TV station RT from filming during Jerusalem Day on 17 May, which commemorates Israel's conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City during the Six Day War.

Although they had accreditation, RT reporter Dalia Nammari and cameraman Muhammad Aishu were manhandled and their camera was broken. They have filed a complaint.

Nidal Ashtiyeh, a Palestinian photojournalist working for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, was covering a Palestinian demonstration near Nablus on 15 May marking the 67th anniversary of the Nakba (Palestinian defeat and exodus in 1948) when he was badly injured in an eye by a rubber-coated bullet fired by an Israeli soldier. He has not yet recovered his sight in the eye and needs to receive special treatment.

The Israel Defence Forces stopped a peaceful demonstration by the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 2 May (the eve of World Press Freedom Day). The demonstrators had planned to march from the edge of the city to an IDF checkpoint but were stopped by teargas and flash grenades.

Israeli soldiers attacked journalists who were on hilltop covering a weekly protest against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on 24 April. A video posted on social networks shows the journalists being chased by the soldiers, who were throwing stones at them.

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