Arab journalist Al Jazeera Givara Budeiri has been released from custody several hours after Israeli police arrested her while covering a demonstration in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Israeli police assaulted the Doha-based media network’s Jerusalem correspondent while detaining her on Saturday and destroyed Al Jazeera’s camera crew, Nabil Mazzawi. Budeiri’s arrest provoked a strong condemnation by freedom of the press and media watchdogs.
“They came from everywhere, I don’t know why, they kicked me in the wall,” Budeiri told Al Jazeera, moments after she was released Saturday afternoon.
“They kicked me inside the car in a very bad way … they kicked me from everywhere,” he said.
Budeiri reported on a stay marking the 54th anniversary of the Naksa, which means “retreat,” a term Palestinians use to describe the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip in 1967.
Sheikh Jarrah has also been the site of demonstrations for weeks in support of Palestinian families facing expulsion to give way to Jewish settlers.
Israeli forces attack and detain @ajarabicJivara alBudeiri and smashed the channel’s camera while the team was covering a 54-year-old demonstration of Naksa in #SheikhJarrah pic.twitter.com/TokxMDGBvR
– Rania Zabaneh (@RZabaneh) June 5, 2021
Budeiri had been working as a journalist at Al Jazeera since 2000. When she was arrested, she was wearing a flak jacket marked “press” and had an Israeli government press office (GPO) card.
However, she said she was “treated like a criminal” when she was taken to the police station and prevented from taking off her heavy flak jacket or closing her eyes. She said police accused her of kicking a soldier, an accusation she vehemently denied.
Budeiri said she was released on the condition that she not go to Sheikh Jarrah for 15 days.
Dr. Mostefa Souag, Acting CEO of Al Jazeera Media Network, strongly condemned the arrest.
“The systematic orientation of our journalists totally violates all international conventions. Today’s violent actions by the Israeli occupation forces against Givara Budeiri and Nabil Mazzawi completely ignore the fundamental human rights of journalists,” it said in a statement.
“The silence of journalists terrorizing them has become a routine activity for the Israeli authorities, as has been seen in recent weeks in Gaza and occupied Jerusalem,” Souag added.
Earlier, Hoda Abdel Hamid, of Al Jazeera, an occupied East Jerusalem informant, said Budeiri had been arrested for no apparent reason and had tried to retrieve and display his Israeli-issued press card following a request from the police.
“She was pushed, and this continued as she tried to get her press card. And then when the camera tried to reach her, her camera was shattered,” Abdel Hamid said.
“We spoke to several witnesses and they all said there was no reason for this kind of tension and it was not clear why they decided to go specifically. [after] Givara while there were other journalists doing exactly what he was doing, ”he said.
Images obtained by Al Jazeera showed the moment Budeiri was arrested.
Watch Israeli occupation forces place and detain veteran Aljazeera journalist Givara Albudairi
There may be a ceasefire, but Israel continues to commit crimes #JournalismIsNotACrime
– Jamal Elshayyal Jamal El Din El Shayal (@JamalsNews) June 5, 2021
Israeli police also dispersed dozens of protesters who had managed to reach the neighborhood, which has been closed.
Barbara Trionfi, of the International Press Institute, expressed her shock at the arrest.
“It’s absolutely scary,” he told Al Jazeera.
“We have seen many attacks on journalists by Israeli forces in recent weeks and months, and unfortunately this is not an isolated case,” Trionfi added.
“This kind of behavior by Israeli forces is not absolutely acceptable.”
Sabrina Bennoui, a spokeswoman for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), told Al Jazeera that the arrest was shocking and unacceptable.
“This is a clear violation of press freedom, because this journalist was clearly recognized as she was wearing a press vest and there is a clear will on the part of the Israeli authorities to prevent journalists from doing their job and reporting on the terrain, ”he said. dit.
On May 15, an Israeli aid strike destroyed a building in the Gaza Strip that housed Al Jazeera press offices and other outlets during an 11-day bombardment of the coastal enclave.
Israeli forces “violate” the rights of journalists
At least 14 Palestinian journalists have been detained and detained by Israeli forces in recent weeks, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Administrative detention is a legal procedure that allows Israel to imprison Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories without charge or trial, for renewable periods of up to six months.
Israeli authorities have used this procedure, in which arrests based on “secret evidence” are made, for decades. Detainees are usually unaware of the charges against them and are not allowed to defend themselves judicially.
There were two Palestinian journalists – Zeina Halawani and Wahbe Mikkieh assaulted and arrested by Israeli forces in Sheikh Jarrah last week.
The couple was detained for five days before being released on bail and then placed under house arrest for a month.
Several Palestinian journalists with media cards have been banned from entering Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli police, who claim they need a GPO card.
Israel ranked 86th out of 180 countries in RSF’s global press freedom index for 2021.
“He [Israeli military] they often violate the rights of Palestinian journalists, especially when they are covering demonstrations … in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, ”RSF said.
In a report (PDF) published last year, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights documented 98 attacks by Israeli forces against journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories.
At least 40 were injured by different bullets, including two that “lost their sight in one of their eyes,” the report said.
At least 14 were assaulted with “evidence of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” while another 26 were arrested, he added.