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Middle East & Arab World

​IFJ Presses Israel on Access to Medical Care for Palestinian Photojournalist Shot in E. Jerusalem

10 June 2015

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 so that he can receive medical treatment at the St John of Jerusalem hospital. Nedal Shafiq, a photojournalist for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, was shot while covering protests in the town of Nablus, 50 km north of East Jerusalem, and left blinded in one eye.

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 Palestinians’ homes and lands with the establishment of the state of Israel, when a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier tore into the tear gas mask he was wearing, broke it 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 Hospital St John of Jerusalem, the only specialized eye hospital for Palestinians which is located in East Jerusalem. But 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 has the obligation 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.”