Attacks on the Press in 2011 - Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Key Developments

  • Hamas attacks press at Gaza protests; Israeli soldier shoots journalist at Erez Crossing.

  • Israel passes restrictive "anti-boycott law" that will limit news and commentary.

Hamas forces in Gaza cracked down on journalists covering March demonstrations that called for Palestinian unity. Local journalists were attacked, media bureaus raided, and journalistic material confiscated. In April, three photographers were assaulted in the West Bank while covering skirmishes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in a village south of Nablus. In May, an Israeli soldier shot and seriously wounded Palestinian photographer Mohammed Othman, who was covering clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinians near the Erez Crossing. New legal restrictions were introduced: In July, the Israeli parliament passed an "anti-boycott" law making it a civil offense to support any boycott, divestment, or sanction campaign aimed at Israel based on its Palestinian policies. Journalists could face legal action for even insinuating support of a boycott. Hamas, meanwhile, adopted a new requirement that international journalists obtain Interior Ministry permission before entering Gaza, news reports said. Israeli authorities were holding four Palestinian journalists without charge in late year; Hamas was imprisoning three others, also without charge.

[Refworld note: The sections that follow represent a best effort to transcribe onto a single page information that appears in tabs on the CPJ's own pages, which also include a number of graphics not readily reproducible here. Refworld researchers are therefore strongly recommended to check against the original report: Attacks on the Press in 2011.]

Flotilla detentions: 5

Israeli forces boarded two ships carrying aid bound for Gaza in November. Among the 27 detentions were journalists Hassan Ghani, a correspondent for Iran's Press TV; Lina Attallah, of

Al-Masry al-Youm's English edition; Jihan Hafiz, of Democracy Now; Casey Kauffmann of Al-Jazeera English; and Ayman al-Zubair of Al-Jazeera. Authorities confiscated equipment and footage. Israeli forces were heavily criticized in 2010 after they intercepted a Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla, killing nine passengers, injuring dozens, and arresting hundreds. News media were attacked and obstructed during the raids.

The May 2010 flotilla raids:

18: Journalists aboard the flotilla detained.

10: Countries represented by the detained journalists.

6: Journalists whose equipment was seized.

Assaulted by Hamas in March: 11

Local and foreign journalists covering demonstrations in Gaza calling for political reconciliation between Palestinian factions were attacked on three separate days in March by Hamas security forces, CPJ research shows.

Three days of anti-press violence:

4 journalists assaulted on March 16:

– Ahmed Hethat, correspondent for the independent radio station Sawt Al-Watan
– Mahmoud Abu Taha, presenter for Sawt Al-Watan
– Akram Atallah, reporter for the West Bank-based daily Al-Ayyam
– Mohamed al-Baba, photographer for Agence France-Presse

2 journalists assaulted on March 19:

– Two unidentified Reuters staff members, one of whom was struck with an iron bar

5 journalists assaulted on March 30:

– Wissam Mohamed Yasin, correspondent for U.S. government-funded Al-Hurra
– Ayyad Talal Taha, reporter for Radio Watan
– Mohamad al-Hassoun, reporter for Radio Watan
– Mamdouh al-Sayyid, cameraman for Al-Arabiya
– Wajih al-Najjar, reporter for the Palestinian News Agency

Newsrooms attacked by Hamas: 3

Security forces targeted international news outlets in reprisal for their coverage of a March demonstration in Gaza calling for Palestinian national unity, CPJ research shows.

Three outlets under attack:

Reuters: Television, computer equipment smashed

CNN: Searched by agents seeking footage of the demonstration

NHK: Video footage seized from the Japanese news channel

Groups protesting anti-boycott law: 7

In a move likely to restrict news coverage and commentary, the Israeli parliament passed an "anti-boycott" law in July, making it a civil offense to support any economic, cultural, or academic boycott of Israel, Israeli settlements, or Israeli institutions. Violators were subject to civil lawsuit and fines. The measure generated criticism from several domestic groups, the BBC reported.

Israeli groups speaking out:

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Gush Shalom
Physicians for Human Rights Israel
Public Committee against Torture
Coalition of Women for Peace
Peace Now

Imprisoned on December 1, 2011: 7

Imprisonments reached the highest level in more than a decade, as both Israeli and Hamas authorities jailed journalists without charge.

Imprisoned over time by either Hamas or Israeli authorities:

2007: 2 (Both in Israeli custody)

2008: 4 (One in Israeli custody; three in Hamas custody)

2009: 0

2010: 0

2011: 7 (Four in Israeli custody; three in Hamas custody)

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