IDF investigating beating of Palestinian journalists

Activists release video of incident showing soldier striking Palestinian journalists with baton.

August 19, 2012 15:25
1 minute read.
IDF soldier with baton grabs Palestinian journalis

IDF soldier with baton with Palestinian. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)


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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.

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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 batons disembarked.

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.

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