IDF soldiers open fire on photojournalists
In an effort to deal with the continuing demonstrations, the IDF’s Central Command began to issue orders on an almost weekly basis declaring Nabi Saleh a closed military zone. This order is designed to prevent Palestinian and other activists from reinforcing local resident protesters and it also allows the military to control press coverage by blocking the media’s entry into the village.
With press cameras out of the way, army and Border Police forces operating in Nabi Saleh began to employ increasingly violent tactics against protesters and local residents – both during the weekly demonstrations and in arrest raids and incursions during the course of the week.
Incidents of physical and verbal intimidation of journalists by Border Police officers in Nabi Saleh have occurred periodically over the past 18 or so months, but a red line was crossed at the end of July when Israeli troops deliberately targeted media personnel with firearms.
Further, the IDF’s ongoing decision to declare Nabi Saleh a closed military zone on a weekly basis is a clear and unjustified move to suppress press freedom.
In the past, even when orders declared Nabi Saleh a closed military zone, commanders operating in the village have largely adhered to an unspoken agreement with the media: while not granting journalists easy entry into the village, accredited members of the press who did manage to infiltrate Nabi Saleh were largely ignored by troops and allowed to work freely and without restriction – as should be the case in any democratic state.IDF soldiers open fire on photojournalists