|NMU||ISRAEL||Newsgathering||Apr 12, 2002|
Attacks on journalists in Israel continue
- The Israeli military kept up its harassment of reporters, including Americans, despite pleas from press freedom groups and journalism organizations.
Despite pleas from press freedom activists and journalism groups, Israeli Defense Forces continue to harass, threaten and attack journalists trying to cover skirmishes in Israel’s West Bank and other parts of the country.
On April 5, Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets and stun grenades into a journalist convoy in Ramallah near the compound of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The group of 25 reporters consisted of mostly American journalists who were waiting for U.S. special envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni, who was scheduled to meet with Arafat that day.
Television reports from CNN said the Israeli troops fired five to seven stun grenades at the reporters without giving a warning. Later, the reporters were ordered to leave the area.
On April 9, a French cameraman was shot while other journalists, including some Americans, were harassed while covering a recent Israeli offensive in the West Bank.
Last week, the New York City-based Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon urging him to lift restrictions on reporters working in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Qalqiliya. Both the Foreign Press Association and the Radio-Television News Directors Association also protested the incidents.
The efforts to stifle coverage continue even as the Israel Defense Forces withdrew from some West Bank towns.
© 2002 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press