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Israeli forces detain four journalists, strike another with teargas canister

(MADA/IFEX) - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces' detention of four journalists: Reuters photographer Yousry El-Jamal, Associated Press photographer Hazem Bader, Agence France-Presse photographer Mousa Alshaer and Maan News Agency cameraman Luay Sababa. The detentions were carried out on 23 July 2010 in the areas of Bethlehem and Hebron, in the West Bank.

MADA also condemns the 24 July attack by the Israeli army on Middle East Agency photographer Najeh Hashlamoun by throwing a teargas canister at him from close range when he was covering a weekly march in Beit Ommar, near Hebron.

Hashlamoun said that he had gone that morning to cover the march. After their arrival at the Israeli checkpoint, the Israeli army began throwing teargas at the demonstrators. A teargas canister shot at close range hit Hashlamoun in the back, causing him to lose consciousness for a short period of time.

El-Jamal said that he went to cover the confiscation by settlers of Palestinian land in the Bouira area, near Hebron. While he was taking photographs along with his colleague Bader, one of the Israeli soldiers said to them, "This is a closed military zone where photography is forbidden." El-Jamal and Bader then asked him, "Do you have military orders to do this?" Instead of answering their question he detained them in a military jeep for two hours, during which time he prevented them from talking or making phone calls. When he finally released them, he issued a threat, telling them that if they returned to the area they would be arrested immediately.

Alshaer said he went to cover the Alma'sra weekly march, south of Bethlehem, and that when he arrived the Israeli army detained him, along with his colleague Sababa, to prevent them from carrying out their work. They were released after the march, which lasted about three hours.

MADA once again condemns the continued Israeli violations of the rights of Palestinian journalists, especially during their coverage of the weekly peace marches in the West Bank, and calls on the international community to intervene immediately to put a halt to these types of actions.

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