Israeli forces suppressed a peaceful march organized by Palestinian journalists on World Press Freedom Day, Wednesday, May 3, in front of Ofer prison in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.
Israeli forces used tear gas to suppress protesters, and detained journalists Ashraf al-Nibali and Amin Alariya during the march, which was also held in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, who will enter their 20th day without food today, Saturday May 6.
According to the Palestinian press agency Ma’an, occupation forces injured 13 Palestinian journalists on Sunday, April 30, during the violent suppression of a peaceful sit-in in occupied East Jerusalem that was organized in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.
Dozens of Palestinians, including two journalists, were injured as Israeli forces suppressed a march in solidarity with the hunger-striking prisoners in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Thursday, May 4. Protesters, some dressed up as prisoners, demonstrated in solidarity with the approximately 1,600 Palestinian prisoners who have been consuming only a mixture of salt and water since April 17. The protesters also demanded the release of the bodies of Palestinians slain by Israel security forces.
During Thursday’s demonstration, clashes erupted as protesters reached Israel’s illegal separation wall. Witnesses told Ma’an that journalist Safiyyeh Omar was injured with a stun grenade in her leg, while photojournalist Abed Hashlamoun was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the leg. Dozens of protesters were incapacitated by severe tear gas inhalation.
Last month, the international press freedom NGO “Reporters without Borders” condemned Israeli forces for violating the rights of Palestinian and foreign journalists, particularly those that cover demonstrations, in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index. “Under Israel’s system of administrative detention, Palestinian journalists can be held indefinitely without trial, without formal charge, and without notifying a lawyer. They are often accused of inciting violence, cooperating with terrorist organizations, or otherwise posing a threat to Israel’s security,” the group wrote in the report, which ranked Israel 91st out of 180 countries based on the level of freedom it grants to journalists.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) documented 249 press freedoms violations committed by Israeli authorities in the group’s annual 2016 report. Israeli violations involved the “injuring and arresting of dozens of Palestinian journalists, raiding, confiscating, and sabotaging media outlets, including the shutdown of 12 Palestinian media outlets and printing houses.”