Sunday, June 6, 2021
“Violation of Traditions”
Israeli police arrest a journalist
A reporter for al-Jazeera is arrested during a demonstration in Sheikh Zarra, an Arab district in Israel-annexed Jerusalem – although he is clearly identified as a journalist. Now the Israeli police are on fire.
Israeli police are facing serious charges after a reporter violently arrested Qatari TV broadcaster Al Jazeera in East Jerusalem. “This is a clear violation of press freedom because this journalist was clearly identified by his press attire,” said Sabrina Benui, a spokeswoman for the television station Reporters Without Borders. “Israeli officials are ready to prevent journalists from doing their job and cover up the scene.”
The international press agency condemned Saturday’s arrest as “absolutely unacceptable”, while al-Jazeera itself spoke of “violating all international traditions.” The reporter was arrested during a demonstration in Sheikh Zarra, an Arab district in Israel-annexed Jerusalem, and said he had been mistreated by police. His boss accused security forces of attacking the TV crew and destroying their equipment. The journalist later said he was treated “like a criminal” and kicked by police. At the police station, he was accused of kicking a policewoman, but that never happened.
An Israeli police spokesman said the woman and a man physically assaulted troops as a demonstration was breaking out. You have refused to identify yourself. Video footage of the incident, however, shows that the journalist – according to Al Jazeera – was the one who received press recognition from the Israeli government – dressed as a “journalist”. According to his own reports, he was released several hours after his arrest – on the condition that he would not enter the district for 15 days.
Sheikh Zarra’s condition remains tense
Barbara Trionfi, of the International Press Institute, an organization that promotes press freedom, spoke about the horrific repression by police. “We have seen a number of attacks on journalists by Israeli forces over the past weeks and months,” he told Al-Jazeera. “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.”
Police said security forces were pelted with stones and firecrackers during a protest by residents in the neighborhood. The threat to evict Palestinian families in Sheikh Zayed escalated tensions ahead of the recent escalation of violence in the region.
Protests in Sheikh Zarra continued even after the start of a ceasefire between Israel and the ruling Hamas in Gaza on May 21. The expected court ruling on the evictions was adjourned.