IFJ presses Israel on access to medical treatment in East Jerusalem for an injured Palestinian journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today joined its union the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) in pressing the Israeli authorities to let a Palestinian journalist in East Jerusalem receive medical treatment at the St John of Jerusalem hospital. Nedal Shafiq Ishtayah, a photojournalist for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, was shot and blinded in one eye while covering protests in Nablus, 50 km north of Jerusalem. According to the PJS, Shafiq Ishtayah was covering a demonstration on 16 May in Huwarah village, south of Nablus city, marking the 67th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakaba (Catastrophe) and the loss of Palestinian homes and lands with the establishment of the state of Israel. He was struck by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier which tore into his tear gas mask and hit him in one eye. The reporter lost his sight in the injured eye and has been waiting for an urgent operation at the St John of Jerusalem hospital, the only specialized eye hospital for Palestinians, located in East Jerusalem. However the Israeli authorities refuse to give him a permit to enter the city. “We are appalled by the authorities’ attitude which puts the health of our colleague at risk and adds to his suffering caused by the attack of their soldier,” said the IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to allow civilians, including journalists, access to medical treatment. We therefore urge the Israeli authorities to grant the journalist immediate entry for his operation and to investigate the incident in which he was injured with a view to ensuring accountability for it.”

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