A month away from the end of 2013 witnessed troubling media freedoms violations committed by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza for the third month, where the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has monitored a series of arrests, verbal and physical abuse, which is a warning sign of a deterioration in the status of media freedoms.The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) also had its share in committing violations against journalists last November, by targeting journalists and preventing them from covering incidents, but most notable was the arrest of Mahmoud Abu Khdeir (Al Quds newspaper correspondent) for a whole month.And in regards of the IOF's Impunity, the Foreign Press Association (FPA) released a statement on 2nd December 2013, accusing the IOF of firing rubber bullets and sound grenades deliberately at journalists during November, the statement also stated that FPA submitted complaints to Israel regarding ten incidents in which journalists were attacked by the IOF during the last two years, and they were ignored, they also referred to Israel's poor record in investigating of this type of incidents.The Foreign Press Association feels the IOF statement regarding the Nov. 29 incident at the Qalandiya crossing to be misleading and unsatisfactory. During the incident, troops fired rubber bullets and threw stun grenades directly at a group of working journalists. The IOF's statement does not explain why troops fired rubber bullets at eye-level, rather than at the lower body, which in this incident could have resulted in a fatality. It also gives no answer or explanation as to why someone threw a stun grenade at the back of a group of photographers who had made clear to them that they were walking away from the scene.Once again, we urge the IOF to investigate the very real concerns that we raised. The photojournalists were clearly identified and there can be no excuses made for the way in which they were treated. By turning a blind eye to clear breaches of protocol, and repeatedly failing to properly investigate similar incidents in the past, we fear the IDF is creating a culture of impunity within its ranks that only serves to perpetuate an already dangerous situation.The FPA statement coincided with the end of MADA's campaign "International Day to End Impunity", under the theme "Yes to holding freedom for expression offenders accountable".The Palestinian violations:In Selfit on the 1st November 2013, Majdi Taha the manager of Sawt Alghad Radio station was arrested by the Palestinian detectives' for writing a report about a missing girl near the village of Bedya north of West Bank. And in Bethlehem, on Sunday the 10th November 2013, journalist George Canawati, the manager of Radio Bethlehem 2000 was arrested from his home, on the background of his weekly radio show "Amar ya Bald".In Gaza, on Monday 11th November 2013, the French Agency Cameraman Yahya Hasouna was detained by the Internal Security while preparing a report on the 9th memorial of the Late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat.Where on Sunday 24th November 2013, members of the intelligence service's of the presidential guards detained the crew of Watan TV; reporter Ibrahim Ankawi (26 years old) and photographer Nael Rajoub (33 years old), while they were preparing a report on the false companies, near the Moqata'a (presidential headquarters) in Ramallah.In Tulkarem, On Wednesday 13th November 2013, Watan TV correspondent Sami Saai was summoned for investigation by the Preventive Security. And in Gaza on the same day, a group of armed men broke into the home of Al Arabyia TV cameraman and the manager of the broadcast Shabaan Mema, they stole his car and kidnapped him.The Israeli Occupation Violations:The Israeli occupation forces arrested Mohamed Abu Khdeir the correspondent of Alquds Newspaper, during his return home from a trip via the Ben-Gurion Airport, on Wednesday 6th November 2013; he was released a month later. And on Friday 15th November 2013, the IOF targeted a group of journalists during their coverage of the weekly peaceful Balain protests.On Saturday 21st November 2013, Al-Quds TV crew (Mamdouh Hamamra - correspondent and Abd Algani Natsha - cameraman) were prevented by a group of Israeli soldiers from covering the Occupations bulldozing the lands of (Baten Al-Masi) an area south of Al-Khadir village near BethlehemConclusion and recommendations:The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns all violations against journalists in Palestine, and MADA expresses a grave concern from the violations by Palestinians, and demands the Palestinian officials to end the attacks against journalists and to respect the right to freedom of expression guaranteed Article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law.
MADA calls upon the civil society to exercise effective pressure on the Israeli Occupation to stop the all violations against journalists, and to respect freedom of expression.