IFJ Protests After Israeli Soldiers Open Fire On Israeli Journalist in the West Bank

The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest journalists' organisation, today condemned a shooting incident in the West Bank involving an Israeli journalist over the weekend.

Gideon Levy, a correspondent for the daily Haaretz newspaper, a Haaretz photographer and a representative from the organization Physicians for Human Rights were traveling in an armored taxi when an Israeli soldier opened fire on them in the West Bank. No one was injured. "This is another example of how journalists are put at risk when military discipline breaks down," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It also shows why every journalist needs armoured protection when reporting in this region."

The incident occurred Sunday morning in the West Bank town of Tulkarem, as the taxi, which had Israeli license plates, approached an army post. Shots hit the bulletproof windshield of the taxi.

Levy, a well known and trenchant reporter, who writes weekly stories about the lives of ordinary Palestinians, said the group's visit to Tulkarem, which is under tight curfew, had been coordinated in advance with the Israeli army. The taxi waited for two hours at a roadblock before soldiers confirmed that it could continue.

When the taxi entered the town, it traveled freely until it met an armored personnel carrier, Levy said. Officers ordered the taxi to drive to a nearby army post. Driving slowly, the taxi approached the post when suddenly a soldier stationed at a lookout post opened fire, Levy said. According to a report in Haaretz the soldier who fired the shots testified that he fired a warning shot, then shot at the wheels and only then at the hood.

The Israeli military blamed a lack of coordination between various positions in the area and that the soldier who had fired the shots was mistaken. The army apologized, and said the soldier and the officer concerned would be put on trial.