Tens of Palestinian journalists continue to be detained by the Israeli occupation, as the Israeli military refused on Wednesday, 8 August to release four Palestinian journalists seized last week. Palestinian journalists have urged international solidarity to free those targeted for their reporting about the crimes of the Israeli occupation.
The Ofer military court ordered four journalists from Al-Quds TV – Alaa Rimawi, Mohammed Sami Alwan, Qutaiba Hamdan and Husni Anjas – released on bail; however, the military prosecution refused their release and said it would appeal the decision to a higher military court.
Earlier, in a joint statement issued on Monday, 6 August, the four said that “the occupation practices a policy of intimidation and psychological torture against us in lengthy interrogation sessions,” saying that the interrogations are centered on the role of the media in occupied Palestine and the content of media broadcsts. They said that the goal of their arrest is to “silence the Palestinian media outlets and break them through a policy of detention.” They urged international actions from journalists’ associations and legal organizations to combat ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian journalists’ rights.
Rimawi earlier carried out a six-day hunger strike in protest of his detention for journalism. He and his colleagues were seized from their Ramallah-area homes in pre-dawn raids, and he launched a hunger strike immediately upon his arrest, which he suspended on Saturday, 4 August at the advice of his lawyer.
The number of jailed Palestinian journalists rose to 23 on 6 August after Ibrahim Rantisi was seized from his hometown of Rantis near Ramallah. The detained journalists include: Mahmoud Musa Issa, Ahmad Hassan al-Saifi, Bassam al-Sayeh, Hammam Hantash (held in administrative detention without charge or trial), Musab Said, Radwan Qutani, Istabraq Tamimi (a journalism student at Bir Zeit University), Ola Marshoud (a journalism student at An-Najah University), Yassin Abu Lefah (held in administrative detention without charge or trial, Musa Salah Samhan (held in administrative detention without charge or trial, Musa Qadamani, Osama Shaheen ((held in administrative detention without charge or trial, director of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies) Mahmoud Asida, Ahmad al-Arbid, Yousef Shalabi, Suzan Owawi (still held under interrogation), Lama Khater (still held under interrogation), Alaa Rimawi, Qutaiba Hamdan, Mohammed Alwan, Husni Anjas, Mohammed Anwar Mona and Ibrahim Rantisi, the latter two seized in the early days of August.
Dozens of journalists joined in a protest in Nablus on 8 August in the center of the city, carrying Palestinian flags and signs protesting occupation attacks on Palestinian journalists.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins the call of Palestinian journalists for greater global solidarity against the ongoing attacks of the Israeli occupation. From the International Federation of Journalists to Reporters without Borders, international voices who are concerned with human rights of reporters have a responsibility to defend Palestinians facing colonial imprisonment for reporting the reality of apartheid, colonization and injustice. The imprisonment of Palestinian journalists can also not be separated from the killing of Palestinian journalists like Yaser Murtaja and Ahmad Abu Hussein in Gaza in the Great March of Return.
The attacks on Palestinian journalists – including student journalists – also underline the importance of the boycott of Israel, including the cultural and academic boycott. So long as Palestinians – including Palestinian journalists – are not free, the Israeli state and its associated institutions must be isolated by people of conscience and human rights defenders around the world. Freedom for all Palestinian prisoners – Freedom for Palestine!