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Palestinian journalists attacked by Israeli settlers and soldiers

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 22 October 2008 IFJ press release:

IFJ Condemns Israeli Settlers' Attack on Palestinian Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned recent attacks and harassment by Israeli settlers and soldiers on Palestinian journalists covering the clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinian olive pickers near the West Bank city of Hebron.

"We are concerned that the Israeli army has declared this area a military zone that cannot be entered by journalists and has decided to force them out of the area and blame the media workers themselves when they are attacked by Israeli settlers," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "This is clearly an attempt to prevent media coverage of a major news issue."

According to reports, Israeli forces detained three Palestinian journalists from Watan TV yesterday who were attempting to document Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian farmers in the northern West Bank.

On Saturday, Abdel Hafez al Hashlamoun, a photographer for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), and Nayef al Hashlamoun, a Reuters photographer, were beaten by Israeli settlers while Israeli soldiers looked on, said IFJ affiliate the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate.

Al Hashlamoun was briefly hospitalised for his injuries. The journalists were attacked while covering the visit of an international solidarity mission to support Palestinian farmers picking olives from their lands.

Palestinian farmers have been repeatedly attacked and beaten by Israeli settlers as they harvest their olive crop in the West Bank. The Israeli army has declared the area a closed military zone and said that journalists are not allowed to enter it.

"The Israeli Defence Forces must allow all journalists to cover the conflict and ensure that they can do so safely," White said.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

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