Detention of Palestinian TV crew condemned as a violation of international law–reports WAFA

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Israeli occupation forces suppress a journalists’ protest in Bethlehem in solidarity with the Palestinian photographer Muath Amarneh. Credit: WAFA

JERUSALEM – Several Palestinian officials and experts condemned the detention of a Palestine TV crew in Jerusalem on Friday, describing it as a violation of international law.

Israeli intelligence officers detained the Palestine TV crew and seized their equipment in the latest attack against Palestinian media outlets in the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Medhat Debeh, a well-versed expert in international law, told WAFA that the detention of the Palestine TV crew in Jerusalem was a violation of the freedoms bestowed upon media institutions and journalists under international law.
‘The detention of the four journalists in Jerusalem aims at preventing any presence of the sovereign Palestinian institutions in occupied Jerusalem,’ he said.
‘Palestine TV has been working in Jerusalem for 20 years, and is one of the symbols of Palestinian sovereignty.’
Debeh added that Israel’s ban on Palestine TV work in occupied Jerusalem is a breach of all international laws, including the Fourth Geneva Convention which guarantees the freedom to work for all those living under occupation.
Meanwhile, the Presidency slammed the detention of the crew as a part of the Israeli government’s scheme to entrench Israeli control over the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy sites.
It blamed Israeli violations that have gone unpunished on the US administration’s encouragement to Israel, particularly the US administration’s decision recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
It called on the international community to take action and put pressure on the Israeli government to halt its attacks against the Palestinian people.
In the meantime, the Palestinian government’s spokesman, Ibrahim Melhem, said the detention of the crew will have serious repercussions, especially as the incident follows Israel’s decision to ban the work of the TV in the city.
The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) joined in condemning the detention, slamming it as a ‘crime added to the list of crimes committed against Palestinian media outlets and journalists.’
PBC called on the United Nations, the European Union and international organisations, particularly those concerned with public freedoms and democracy, to intervene to defend their principles against this direct violation of the freedom of expression.
The Commission stressed that it is determined to fulfil its duty towards the Palestinian people wherever they are in the territories of the State of Palestine, particularly in occupied Jerusalem.
The incident was also condemned by the ruling Fatah party, who described it as a ‘failed attempt to hide the truth’.
‘This Israeli crime is part of the Israeli occupation’s scheme to Judaise the city of Jerusalem, as well as part of the war on the Palestinian media,’ Fatah said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate condemned the detention of the Palestine TV crew, saying it was going to file a case in the International Court against the Israeli occupation authorities.
The detention of the crew was further condemned by Palestine’s ambassador in Egypt, Diab al-Louh, who described it as a violation of all international conventions on the protection of journalist on duty.

  • Israel in the afternoon of Friday released the Palestine TV crew detained earlier in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

The WAFA correspondent reported that Israeli police released Palestine TV reporter Christine Rinawi, cameraman Ali Yassin, producer Dana Abu Shamsiya and cameraman Ameer Abed-Rabbu.
The Palestine TV crew was handed an order banning them from contacting one another and working with Palestine TV for 15 days, and requiring them to pay a daily bail of 2,000 shekels if they do not comply with the ban.
Israeli intelligence officers in the morning detained Palestine TV crew and seized their equipment during the broadcast of ‘Good Morning Jerusalem’ on the Mount of Olives.
Despite the TV crew’s release later, former prisoner Mohammad al-Abbasi, who was detained with them while being hosted on the ‘Good Morning Jerusalem’ show, has been kept in detention.
The Palestinian Presidency also condemned the detention of the Palestine TV crew in Jerusalem on Friday.
The Presidency slammed the detention of the crew as a part of the Israeli government’s scheme to entrench Israeli control over the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy sites.
It blamed Israeli violations that have gone unchecked on the US administration’s encouragement to Israel, particularly the US administration’s decision recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
It called on the international community to take action and put pressure on the Israeli government to halt its attacks against the Palestinian people.

  • Israel today handed over the body of a cancer-stricken Palestinian prisoner who died recently while in Israeli custody to Jordan.

Chairman of the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission Qadri Abu Baker announced that Israel has handed over the body of Sami Abu Diak, who died on November 26 in Israeli custody due to deliberate medical negligence, to Jordan.
‘The Israeli occupation authorities has handed over Abu Diak’s body to Jordan through the King Hussein border crossing following his family’s request,’ Abu Baker confirmed.
He noted that Abu Diak’s body was transferred to the King Hussein Medical Centre in the Jordanian capital, Amman, a move that was agreed upon between Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Abu Diak’s parents.
He expressed his high appreciation for the intervention of Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the Jordanian government to secure the release of Abu Diak’s body.
The 36-year-old prisoner suffered from terminal cancer and had been refused compassionate leave to be with his family. Israel refused to fulfil Abu Diak’s last wish to spend his last days with his mother.
According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, Abu Diak had first complained of abdominal pain in 2015, which was treated with painkillers. Two weeks later, he lost consciousness and was transferred to the Israeli Soroka hospital.
He then underwent surgery to remove parts of his intestines, and was diagnosed with cancer. After that, Abu Diak underwent other surgical procedures that reportedly left him unconscious while on anaesthetics for more than a month.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Abu Diak’s family had asked for his release to allow him to die at his family’s side, but Israeli officials denied the request. The Palestinians also reached out to European countries and the Red Cross to apply pressure on Israel to release him.
The Palestinian Prisoners Club said he was the fifth Palestinian to die in Israeli custody in 2019, and the 222nd since 1967.