Israel forces abused journalists in East Jerusalem al-Quds: Press body tells court

August 4, 2017 9:57 am

Israeli forces fire teargas to disperse Palestinians after clashes inside the al-Aqsa Mosque’s compound in ’ Old City, July 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

A US organization representing foreign media workers has complained to a top Israeli court over the use violent tactics by the regime forces against the journalists trying to cover the recent tensions in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The Foreign Press Association (FPA) submitted a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice, saying the forces would bar journalists from the site, and subject them to physical and verbal abuse without any legal mandate to do so, Israeli media outlets reported on Thursday.
The body cited the case of a Reuters cameraman, who was hospitalized with a concussion after reportedly being assaulted by an Israeli officer.
It said it had filed the petition out of frustration “after years of empty promises, smashed equipment, and injured journalists,” The Times of Israel reported.
The NGO slammed the authorities in Tel Aviv as “shameful” for “standing by silently” despite its “claims to be committed to freedom of the press.”
The FPA said it was seeking police guarantees that journalists would not be hindered in their future work and would be able to cover events “freely, safely, and security,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
Late last month, the body had decried in a statement on its website the “deplorable situation created by Israeli security authorities.”
The statement noted that journalists had 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.”
“While tourists were given access to the [al-Quds’] Old City, journalists were held for questioning and relegated to distant positions totally useless for reporting or taking relevant photos,” the earlier statement said.
By tourists, the body was apparently referring to hordes of Israeli settlers, whom Israeli forces would escort into the Old City, where the compound is located, while either barring Palestinians or subjecting their entrance to age limits and heavy surveillance tactics.
Israel fully closed the compound for three days following a shootout on July 14 near the site, which left two Israeli soldiers and three Palestinians dead.

Israeli forces watch over Palestinian worshipers praying outside Lion’s Gate, which leads to the al-Aqsa Mosque’s compound in Jerusalem al-Quds’ Old City, July 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The move drew sweeping international condemnation, forcing Tel Aviv to reopen the site.
The regime, however, first barred Palestinians less that 50 years or age and then set up metal detectors at the entrances, prompting Palestinians to pray outside in protest. Israel finally lifted the detectors, but has installed more cameras in the place.
The settlers, however, regularly tour Islam’s third holiest site under heavily-enforced security measures in a move, which has proven to be highly provocative to the Palestinians.
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