Palestinian photographer Majdi Mohammed, who covers Palestine and Israel for the Associated Press, was verbally attacked and then shot by Israeli occupation forces during clashes in the West Bank’s al-Ram village.
The reporter was covering an arrest raid by Israeli forces in the village Sunday when residents began protesting against the troops, throwing stones at them. The Israelis quickly responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
As he was covering the clashes, Mohammed said one of the Israelis cursed him and ordered him to leave, AP reported. He added that as he turned around, he was shot at close range with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his shoulder, a part of his back not covered by his ‘Press’ protective vest.
Israeli forces arrived at the village to carry out a raid on the home of Misbah Abu Sbeih, a Palestinian who was shot and killed by Israeli police earlier in the day after carrying out a deadly drive-by shooting in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported Monday.
Commenting on the latest attack against the AP reporter, the Foreign Press Association in Israel said in a statement Monday “We have reason to believe that this shooting was intentional,” calling it “the latest in a string of attacks by Israeli border police on journalists.”
The statement pointed to the fact that the shooter signaled out and cursed at Mohammed. “Majdi’s vest clearly identified him as ‘press,’ and he was nowhere near the stone-throwing protesters who were clashing with the forces at the time,” the group stressed.
While such incidents make international headlines due to the journalist's reputable employer, Israeli attacks on local Palestinian journalists working for local or less popular outlets take place regularly and mostly go unnoticed.
Since the renewed wave of unrest and violence broke a year ago, at least 79 Palestinian journalists have been detained by Israel, with 32 having their detention orders extended, the Committee to Support Palestinian Journalists said last month according to a report by the Middle East Monitor.
The Palestinian government accuses Israel of treating reporters as terrorists or inciters in order to silence them.
“An attempt has been made to turn all Palestinian journalists into inciters and harm those who bring the Palestinian story to local or world attention ... This is another way for the occupation to intimidate the Palestinians,” Mohammed Khalifa, head of the Palestinian information ministry, told reporters in January.
Meanwhile, between October 2015 and August 2016, 130 Palestinian and foreign journalists in the West Bank have been injured as a result of Israeli rubber bullets, live munitions, stun grenades, beatings with batons, suffocation and poisoning while on duty, the report by the committee has revealed.