On May 18, an Associated Press photographer was shot and seriously wounded by an Israeli settler while covering a disturbance at Hawara in the West Bank.
While the settler has claimed that he opened fire in self-defense, eyewitness accounts and video evidence from the scene suggest otherwise. Video clips show him firing his gun after troops had arrived and cleared away the protesters. They also indicate that he aimed at people far away from his vehicle. The photographer was clearly identified as a journalist, with a protective helmet and vest with the word ‘Press’ in large letters.
Police have said the incident is still being investigated, but already troubling signs have emerged. Instead of any punitive measure being taken, the settler has reportedly received his handgun back, and Israel’s deputy defense minister has praised him for shooting a “terrorist who threatened his life.” Meanwhile, there has been no effort by Israeli police to speak to the photographer.
This case offers an important test of Israel’s commitment to protecting all civilians and ensuring freedom of the press. We call on the Israeli police and all other relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and timely investigation into the actions of the shooter and to take legal action against him if any wrongdoing is found. The Board of the Foreign Press Association June 7, 2017
The Foreign Press Association condemns in the strongest terms the unwarranted, aggressive behaviour of the Israeli police and border police in trying to prevent international photographers and cameramen from covering a demonstration near Damascus Gate on Saturday April 28th.
Police kicked and shoved journalists and in one case used a weapon to jab a Reuters photographer's hand, causing injuries that required hospital treatment. The border police also used horses to charge photographers and cameraman without warning, leading to injuries to an AFP photographer as he fled the scene. The AFP photographer also had several pieces of expensive equipment broken. The FPA has time and again raised its concerns about the aggressive behaviour of the Israeli border police. It is time the Ministry for Internal Security took action to rein in the force and establish much stricter guidelines to ensure serious injuries, and potentially worse outcomes, are avoided. The Board of The Foreign Press Association, April 30, 2017
On Thursday evening January 12, 2017 an Associated Press reporter covering a demonstration in the northern Gaza Strip was detained by plainclothes Hamas security men and forced at gunpoint to turn over his mobile phones to them. The men stuck a pistol in his chest and verbally threatened the reporter until he agreed to give them the phones.
In addition an AFP photographer was badly beaten to the head by uniformed policemen required medical care after he had refused to give up his camera. The memory card of his camera was confiscated and he was placed under arrest. He was subsequently released and the memory card was returned.
The Foreign Press Association condemns this violent behaviour in the strongest terms, and finds it especially shocking in light of verbal promises we have received from Hamas officials to respect the freedom of the press.
We hope that Hamas will properly investigate this incident and provide an explanation and apology for this unacceptable behaviour by their forces.
The Board of The Foreign Press Association January 12, 2017