nadim injaz 224.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israeli police disguised themselves as a TV news crew in order to arrest a wanted Palestinian, provoking an outcry from critics who said the sting threatened to put the lives of newspeople at risk.
Police said the target of the operation was Nadim Injaz, a Palestinian man who had been wanted for making unspecified threats.
Last year, Injaz burst into the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, claimed to have a gun, demanded political asylum and threatened suicide. Although the weapon turned out to be plastic, Injaz was convicted on charges related to the embassy storming and spent several months in prison before being released a few weeks ago.
Since his release, Injaz, a resident of the West Bank town of Ramallah, has made "a number of threats," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, without elaborating.
He said police impersonated a Channel 2 TV news team "in order to meet with the suspect and have him arrested," he said. He noted that Injaz "had constant contact with journalists and the press, both prior and after" the embassy incident.
Injaz now awaits trial in connection with his latest arrest, he said.
Channel 2 executive director Avi Weiss sent a furious letter to Police Commissioner David Cohen, the Haaretz newspaper reported on its Web site.
"Impersonation is liable to create the mistaken impression that the news organization is involved in some way in an investigation or other police operations, and thereby compromise its status as an objective and independent news outlet," Haaretz cited Weiss as writing.
The flow of information could also be hindered if sources are afraid to relay information to newspeople for fear of arrest, Weiss added in the letter. Weiss was not immediately available for comment.
Gadi Sukenik, a former Channel 2 anchor, said reporters' lives could be endangered if sources were to doubt a reporter's integrity as a result of the police impersonation.
"Whoever decided (on this operation) was a fool," Sukenik told Israel Radio. Such a tactic, Sukenik added, "should absolutely be beyond the pale."
Police said they contacted Channel 2, and the reporter they impersonated, to tell them about the operation. "Police told them they posed as reporter to apprehend the suspect and that it was crucial to do so for the case," Rosenfeld said.