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Middle East & Arab World

IFJ Denounces Israeli Forces for Targeting Group of Photographers

03 December 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the Israeli army for "deliberately targeting" a group of photographers covering skirmishes at Qalandia crossing between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Sunday, 1 December.

According to media reports, Israeli troops fired rubber bullets and threw stun grenades at the photographers, despite them putting their hands in the air to indicate that they were leaving. It has also been reported that an Italian freelance photographer covering the same incident was earlier almost been hit in the face by a rubber bullet.

"We condemn the use of such extreme violence against working journalists who were shamefully attacked after they had indicated that they were leaving the site of the skirmishes," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "This incident is another example of the Israeli soldiers' blatant disregard for the safety, freedoms and rights of journalists covering the conflict.

"We call on the Israeli government to carry out a thorough investigation to identify and punish those soldiers who carried out this act and ensure they face the full weight of justice."

The chief reporter from AFP, Marco Longari, who witnessed the incident, said the photographers had been standing under a shelter about 20 metres from Palestinian youths throwing stones, and the soldiers had started to fire rubber bullets without any warning.

In a statement, the Israeli army has stated that its soldier responded accordingly after protestors hurled fire bombs and rocks at them, stating that: "Throughout the provocation, photojournalists were sighted adjacent and in the midst of the rioters, putting themselves at risk."

The Jerusalem Association of journalists has stated that it stands by its principle of rejecting and condemning all acts that endanger lives of journalists who are doing their job to bring the facts as they are to the public. However, it says there is a need wait for the results of the investigations into the incident before drawing any conclusion.

The IFJ has stressed that Israel has a duty to fulfill its international obligation under international law. "The government in Israel has yet again failed to keep its military's conduct in check," said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa. "We urge them to show the will to take action and end these abuses of authority."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17

The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries