HEBRON – Two Reuters journalists were stopped, humiliated, and assaulted by Israeli troops at a checkpoint in Hebron Friday, following the shooting of a Palestinian teenager.
The journalists – Yousri al-Jamal and Mamoun Wazwaz, both Palestinian – were forced to vacate their vehicle and strip off their clothing. The men’s flak jackets were clearly marked PRESS and were in a vehicle marked NEWS, which seems not to have dissuaded the soldiers.
“After being stopped by an Israeli military foot patrol, they were forced to leave the vehicle and struck with the butts of the soldiers’ rifles, the cameramen said.
The cameramen said the soldiers did not let them produce their official media ID papers and forced them to strip down to their underwear, making them kneel on the road with their hands behind their heads.
Two other Palestinian journalists working for local news organisations were also stopped and forced to the ground, they said.
One of the soldiers then dropped a tear-gas canister between the men and the Israeli patrol ran away, having taken a video camera and their gas masks, the Reuters cameramen added.
More tear gas was allegedly fired as the men tried to escape. Mr Wazwaz was overwhelmed by the fumes and had to be taken to hospital.” [from BBC]
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were officially dismayed at news of the journalists’ escape, and have promised to launch an investigation. “There is no excuse for such lax security. Once hostilities were initiated, the soldiers should have been more thorough in their duties. Our military service has no room for mere thuggery.”