SHAFAQNA – In response to recent cases of violence against journalists by members of Israel’s security forces, Reporters Without Borders writes to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to end the climate of impunity enjoyed by the Israel Defence Forces.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The Prime Minister’s Office
3 Kaplan St. Hakirya
Paris, 30 September 2015
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,
Reporters Without Borders, an international organization that defends freedom of information, would like to draw your attention to the many cases of violence against journalists by members of the Israeli security forces.
Two journalists working for Agence France-Presse – Italian videographer Andrea Bernardi and Palestinian photographerAbbas Momani – were savagely assaulted by Israeli soldiers while preparing to cover clashes between Israeli soldiers and young Palestinians in the West Bank village of Beit Furik on 25 September. The two men were easily identifiable as journalists, as shown in the video of the attack that was posted online. Nonetheless, they were brutally attacked and some of their equipment was smashed to the ground or confiscated.
The suspension of the officer in charge of the operation and the opening of an investigation represent a first step in the right direction but Reporters Without Borders believes that more measures must be taken to end the impunity enjoyed by he Israel Defence Forces.
This attack, which constitutes a direct and grave violation of freedom of information, is not an isolated case. Reporters Without Borders has registered many cases of violence against journalists by the Israeli police or IDF since the start of 2015.
During the Jewish New Year celebrations in September, at least ten journalists were attacked and prevented from covering the clashes in and around the plaza in front of East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. As well as being affected by the teargas fired by the police, some were targeted, manhandled and punched, and their equipment was damaged.
In 2014, the IDF killed a total of 15 professional and non-professional journalists during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, which began on 8 July. Nine of these journalists were killed in the course of their work.
Since 2013, Reporters Without Borders has included the IDF on its list of “Predators of Press Freedom” because of its attacks against media outlets and journalists. Israel fell five places in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and is now ranked 101st out of 180 countries.
The attitude of some Israeli soldiers towards the media is unacceptable. Reporters Without Borders calls for effective investigations in order to punish all those responsible for attacks on freedom of information and thereby end this intolerable climate of impunity.
I thank you in advance for the attention you give to this request,