Israeli authorities must cease their routine abuse and harassment of journalists, says IFJ

Israeli security forces stand by as Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray outside Lions' Gate, a main entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on July 24, 2017, in protest against new Israeli security measures implemented at the holy site following an attack that killed two Israeli policemen the previous week. Jordan's King Abdullah II urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remove new security measures at an ultra-sensitive Jerusalem holy site. Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS)recorded at least 15 incidents of journalists being attacked, abused or prevented from reporting by Israeli security forces while attempting to cover the Al-Aqsa Mosque protests over the weekend.    The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined its affiliate PJS in condemning these abuses and is calling on the Israeli authorities to let journalists work freely and safely.   Israeli, Palestinian and foreign journalists have been forcibly removed from areas around old Jerusalem whilst attempting to cover the Al-Aqsa Mosque protests over the past few days.   Thousands of protesters converged around the Al-Aqsa mosque in mass prayer protests on Friday 21 July against the installation of metal detectors and security cameras at the the entrance to the holy site last week. The security measures were removed on 24 July.   More than 450 protesters have been injured in clashes with Israeli security forces whilst numerous journalists were forcibly removed from areas of Old Jerusalem and barred from entering and reporting on the mosque site.   In a statement released on Sunday July 23, the Foreign Press Association of Israel condemned the treatment of journalists by Israeli police: “Not only have journalists been banned from access, they have been pushed and shoved into areas where their safety is at risk, and where they bear the brunt of the Israeli security response to rioting crowds including teargas, stun grenades and beatings resulting in several serious injuries.”   “We’re not strangers to this kind of treatment as journalists, but it’s unacceptable” said Sky News Arabia chief editor Omar Al-Issawi. Sky News Arabia published a video showing the Israeli security forces mistreating journalists and camera crew.    “The IFJ has repeatedly criticized the Israeli government for their mistreatment of journalists including the disrespect of journalists’ rights to travel and report safely and without hindrance,” said IFJ President Phillipe Leruth. “The IFJ calls on the Israeli government to adhere to international conventions and treaties and cease its routine abuse and harassment of journalists.”

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