IDF soldier with baton with Palestinian.
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
The IDF said Sunday that it launched an investigation into an incident involving the beating of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank on Friday.
Palestinian activists captured some of the incident on video, and later
released footage showing a group of Palestinian reporters walking down a
street in Kafr Kaddum, in the northern West Bank. The journalists were wearing gas masks to protect themselves against tear gas, and flak jackets
that had the words "Press" written on them. They were in the area to
cover a demonstration.
In the video, two IDF jeeps can be seen driving along the same street
that the journalists were walking down, and a number of soldiers holding
The soldiers called on the journalists to come to them, possibly
mistaking them for rioters. In the distance, one of the soldiers can be
seen swinging a baton and striking a journalist.
"The incident is known to the IDF and commanders are investigating it. The IDF respects journalists and allows for free press activity, in order to ensure free, continuous press coverage, including in areas that are characterized by conflict. On the face of it, this appears to be an exceptional incident, and the investigation continues," the IDF
Spokesman's Office said in response.
Palestinians hold weekly demonstrations at Kafr Kaddum to protest an IDF
Central Command decision to close a road connecting the village to
nearby Nablus due to security concerns.
The Foreign Press Association (FPA) released a statement saying it
expected an "immediate and public action by the self declared 'only
democracy in the middle east' following Fridays premeditated beating of
clearly marked, identifiable members of the press by the IDF." In its
statement, the FPA placed quotations around the words "only democracy in
the Middle East."
"The images we see here are usually associated with
failing dictatorships. Their actions are simply criminal assault and it
should be treated that way by the Israeli authorities if they want the
world and the world's media to treat the IDF like the professional army
it claims to be," the FPA added.