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FPA Statements 2022
September 8, 2022
Statement by the Foreign Press Association on IDF investigation into the May 11 killing of Shireen Abu Akleh
The recent IDF announcements about its investigation into the May 11 killing of Shireen Abu Akleh raise major questions about the military’s actions that day and serious doubts about its stated commitment to protecting journalists in the future.
A senior military official told reporters the soldier at the site was under Palestinian gunfire around the time Abu Akleh was shot but provided no evidence to support that claim. According to video footage from that day, Abu Akleh was shot following several quiet minutes of no gunfire at the site.
The Israeli announcement says it found “no abnormalities” in the military’s standard operating procedures. According to the senior official, the soldier had limited visibility, yet opened fire directly toward clearly identified journalists without firing a single warning shot. If this is normal operating procedure, how can the army fulfill its stated pledge to protect journalists and respect freedom of the press?
The Foreign Press Association demands the Israeli military publish its full investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing, so the public can have a transparent accounting of the army’s actions that day.
The Foreign Press Association also demands the Israeli military announce concrete steps it is taking to ensure all its soldiers are made aware of the presence of journalists in the field and do not open fire at them.
June 2, 2022
Statement by the Foreign Press Association condemning violence against journalists at Jerusalem Day Flag Parade
The Foreign Press Association is deeply alarmed about acts of violence by Israeli civilians and police towards journalists working for the foreign press during the Jerusalem Day flag march on May 29.
A BBC team was verbally and physically assaulted by Israeli march participants.
A France 24 reporter was assaulted live on air by an Israeli participant.
Quique Kierszenbaum, a freelance photographer and producer covering the march for foreign media, was pepper sprayed by an Israeli participant and punched in the face by an Israeli border police officer.
A journalist for Israeli public broadcasting, Iyad Harb, was beaten, punched and pepper sprayed by civilians, and we welcome the arrest of two suspects connected to the attack.
The FPA understands that the work of security officers can be complicated in such events, with tens of thousands of people, some linked to radical groups, marching in Jerusalem. But it is unacceptable for a police officer to attack a clearly identified photojournalist who was wearing the wristband police distributed to identify accredited journalists at the event. We call for police to take measures against the officer. We also call on police to take measures against Israeli civilians who attacked reporters on duty. Those who attack reporters should be arrested, not protected, by police.
Unfortunately, such violence against journalists has become routine. We expect Israeli authorities – who profess to respect freedom of the press – to put their words into action.
May 11, 2022
FPA Statement on Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh
The Foreign Press Association is appalled and deeply shocked by the killing of veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. Her death is a tremendous loss for journalism, and the FPA offers its deepest condolences to Al Jazeera and her family.
Shireen was wearing a flak jacket tagged “press” and was part of a clearly identified group of journalists when she was shot in the head.
The FPA is waiting for more details on the exact circumstances of Shireen’s death. We welcome the Israeli military’s promise for an investigation. Given the Israeli security forces’ poor record of investigating violence against journalists, we urge a speedy investigation and call for full transparency in the probe. We also call on the army to release any video its forces collected during the incident.
Killing a journalist is unacceptable in any way. The FPA urges all sides to commit to protecting journalists in the field and hopes that those responsible for this horrible death will be held accountable.
February 19, 2022
Statement by the Foreign Press Association regarding border-police violence towards photographer working for Agence France-Presse
On the afternoon of Friday, February 18th, 2022, Agence France- Presse (AFP) photographer Jaafar Ashtiyeh was hit by a hard rubber bullet fired by Israeli police border in Beita, West Bank.
Jaafar was covering a demonstration of approximately 400/500 Palestinians participants against the outpost of Evyatar. Jaafar was clearly distant from the protesters and around 50 meters away from the border police when he was shot. He was wearing a flack jacket written « Press » on it and a helmet. When he had the feeling he might be shot at, he protected his face with his right forearm and kept his camera on his left hand.
The last pictures taken by Jaafar suggest that he was deliberately targeted by the border police. Jaafar was doing nothing to interfere in the work of police when he was shot. He suffered severe bruising on the right forearm and his situation could have been much worse if he had not had the reflex to protect his face.
Friday’s incident is the latest in a string of unprovoked attacks in recent years by border police on journalists working for international media, and after recent serious incidents involving Associated Press photographer Mahmoud Illean and AFP’s Ahmed Gharabli .
Following these incidents, the FPA had a positive dialogue with the Prime Minister’s Office about the protection of the press, but have so far not been informed of any investigation or action taken by the Border police to curb this violence against the press.
We condemn this latest case of violence by the border police and urge Israeli authorities to take a hard look at their training and lack of professionalism.
January 26, 2022
Statement by the Foreign Press Association regarding police violence towards photographer working for Agence France-Presse
On the afternoon of Tuesday, January 25th, 2022, Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Ahmad Gharabli was hit by a hard rubber bullet fired by Israeli police in A-Tur neighborhood, East Jerusalem.
Ahmad was covering a small demonstration by local residents as Israeli forces started to demolish the house of a local Palestinian family. Ahmad was clearly distant from the protesters and the police and was easily recognizable with his camera.
As video from the scene illustrates, Ahmad was doing nothing to interfere in the work of police when he was shot in the upper chest, a few centimeters from his face. He suffered severe bruising and spent hours at a hospital on Tuesday. He underwent further medical examinations on Wednesday.
In 2021, Ahmad – one of the best-known and most experienced photographers working in Jerusalem – was beaten with stick by a police officer in the Old City in Jerusalem despite being far from protesters.
Tuesday’s incident is the latest in a string of unprovoked attacks in recent years by border police on journalists working for international media, after Associated Press photographer Mahmoud Illean was brutally attacked by Israeli border police last month in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Following that incident, police pledged to the FPA to launch an investigation.
Unfortunately, in what has become a pattern, there has been no communication from the police or any evidence of any investigation since then. The Foreign Press Association strongly condemns Tuesday’s incident, which raises serious questions about the discipline and professionalism of the officers. We urge the Ministry of Public Security, the national police and the border police to conduct a serious investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action against the officer involved.