Israeli police beat Palestinian photographers in Jerusalem amid ‘escalation’ in attacks on journalists

10 May, 2021

Israeli forces assaulted two journalists on Monday as police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, local media reported.

A video shared widely on social media shows at least three Israeli officers surrounding a man who is huddled against a wall.

At least one of the officers is shown beating and kicking the man, who shows no signs of resistance. The video appears to have been shot within the Al-Aqsa complex, which Israeli forces stormed for the third day in a row on Monday.

Journalist Nir Hasson identified the man being beaten as Palestinian photographer Rami Al-Khatib.

he cameraman told Anadolu he was assaulted by police while photographing injured Palestinians who were being treated at a field clinic set up in the mosque compound.

“Israeli police forces stormed the clinic and attacked us brutally,” he said.

They “put me in a corner and assaulted me with rifle butts, batons, hands and legs… and threw me under their feet on the ground”, Abu Rmeleh said.

“The soldiers kept assaulting me until an officer came and took me from their hands… I told them that I am a journalist, but they kept beating me everywhere.”

The Palestinian photojournalist was previously injured alongside another Anadolu agency photographer on Friday after they were shot by police with rubber-coated bullets.

Anadolu‘s Jerusalem correspondent, Esat Firat, and a photojournalist working for the agency were also injured on Monday. Firat was hit with a sound grenade, the Turkish news agency said, while photographer Mustafa Kharouf was hit with a rubber-coated bullet.

Other members of the press also faced violence from Israeli security forces on Monday, according to reports.

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Hind Hassan, a reporter for VICE News, said on Twitter that an Israeli police officer shot a stun grenade at journalists.

Palestinian journalist Fatima Al-Bakri was also assaulted by Israeli forces, Al Jazeera reported citing Palestinian sources.

Another six Palestinian journalists suffered tear gas inhalation, Al Jazeera said.

More than 300 Palestinians were injured on Monday, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Medics were reportedly prevented by Israeli forces from entering the mosque complex and delivering treatment to injured worshippers.

‘Almost daily crimes’

The arrest or assault of journalists is considered a violation of the freedom of the press.

Reporters Without Borders says Israeli forces routinely violate the rights of Palestinian journalists.

In a statement on Monday, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemned what it called an “escalation” in attacks against journalists and media workers in Jerusalem.

At least 10 journalists have been injured in ongoing police violence in Jerusalem, MADA said. The journalists listed by the centre did not include Khatib or Abu Rmeleh in the figures.

“MADA… believes that the impunity of the Israeli occupation forces over the years for their almost daily crimes and violations of media freedoms in Palestine, including the killing of more than 40 journalists during the past two decades, is what encourages them to continue committing more crimes and violations,” the press freedom organisation said.

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Israel occupied East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It later annexed East Jerusalem in a move widely regarded as contrary to international law.

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