Hazardous Duty  | American Journalism Review
From AJR,   May 2002

Hazardous Duty   

The West Bank has been dangerous terrain for journalists:

By Unknown
     

Related reading:
   » Bullying the Press

April 9. Gilles Jaquier, a cameraman with television channel France 2, was wounded by a single gunshot near his shoulder while reporting outside of Nablus. Jaquier, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was transported to a Jerusalem hospital after having the bullet removed at a hospital in Nablus. It is unclear who fired the shot, but a witness said the area was quiet at the time of the shooting.

April 5. Israeli troops fired stun grenades and rubber bullets at a group of at least two dozen reporters attempting to cover the arrival of U.S. Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni at Palestinian National Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah. Eyewitnesses said that the journalists had driven to the compound in several armored press vehicles. Shortly after they arrived and got out of the vehicles, Israeli Defense Forces troops arrived. The Israeli soldiers hurled about six stun grenades in the direction of the journalists. The journalists regrouped and tried to return to the area but were turned back by Israeli troops.

April 2. In Bethlehem, an Israeli soldier fired one round toward the car of Reuters photographer Magnus Johansson, which was clearly identified as a press vehicle. Johansson heard soldiers shouting at him. When he got out of the car, he was ordered back in. The shot was fired as he attempted to drive away.

April 1. NBC correspondent Dana Lewis and his two-person camera crew came under IDF fire in Ramallah at dusk while driving in an armored car that was clearly identified as a press vehicle. After an initial burst of gunfire hit the car, a lone IDF soldier opened fire with a second burst from a range of about 50 to 100 feet. The journalists stopped the car, turned on an interior light to make themselves visible and placed their hands on the windshield. After 15 to 20 seconds, the soldier fired a third burst, hitting the windshield. The NBC crew escaped by driving away in reverse.

April 1. BBC reporter Orla Guerin and her television crew came under Israeli fire while covering peaceful protesters walking through the streets of Bethlehem. Video footage of the incident shows the camera panning the demonstrators and then focusing on a tank, which then fires machine gun rounds at the camera. The crew took cover behind a car that was clearly marked press. No one was injured in the attack.

April 1. In Bethlehem, Palestinian militants threatened journalists working for the Associated Press, Reuters and Palestine TV and forced them to hand over footage, shot the night before, of the body of an alleged Palestinian collaborator who had been shot in a parking lot.

March 31. Israeli authorities announced they would begin enforcing existing rules under which journalists must submit reports about defense matters to a military censor. They also said any Palestinians found working in Israel for foreign news organizations without proper documentation would risk arrest. Repeated violations could result in heavy fines and the closure of foreign media offices.

March 31. Boston Globe reporter Anthony Shadid was wounded by a single gunshot in Ramallah. Shadid said that he and his colleague, Boston Globe stringer Said Ghazali, were walking away from Arafat's compound when a bullet entered Shadid's left shoulder. The area was completely quiet at the time, and both journalists were wearing flak jackets marked "TV" in red tape. Shadid said that he did not see who shot him but that Israeli tanks and soldiers were surrounding the area. The journalist was taken to a Palestinian hospital after receiving first aid from Israeli soldiers.

March 29. Palestinian cameraman Carlos Handal, who works for Egyptian Nile TV and Abu Dhabi TV, was shot in the mouth after his car came under attack in Ramallah. As of mid-April, Handal was hospitalized in stable condition. It is unclear who fired the shot that hit him.

March 14. A group of journalists traveling in an AP armored car came under fire from Palestinian gunmen in Ramallah. According to the AP, the gunmen fired on the car for about 30 seconds, puncturing the vehicle's tires. No one was injured. The gunmen later told the reporters that they had opened fire after hearing a report that Israeli soldiers were driving around in a vehicle with "TV" markings--a rumor Israeli officials vehemently denied.

March 13. The central Ramallah offices of the Qatar-based satellite network, Al Jazeera, came under Israeli fire. Al Jazeera correspondents said that the station's office was hit by Israeli machine gun fire shortly after they finished an interview with Palestinian information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo. The gunfire came from a tank stationed about 100 yards beyond the office and struck a window where a cameraman was filming Israeli-Palestinian clashes more than 300 yards away.

March 13. Raffaele Ciriello, an Italian freelance photographer on assignment for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, was killed by Israeli gunfire in Ramallah. The photographer was hit by a burst of machine gun fire from the direction of an Israeli tank. There was at least one Palestinian gunman in Ciriello's vicinity at the time of the shooting. The Italian government has demanded a full investigation into the attack. The IDF said that journalists who entered the area were "endangering" themselves and said that it was not clear whether Ciriello's death was caused by Israeli or Palestinian gunfire. Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

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