The International Press Institute (IPI) is alarmed by a recent series of attacks by Israeli military forces on journalists covering military operations in the West Bank. IPI calls on the Israeli authorities to respect and protect journalists’ safety and to hold those responsible for attacks on journalists to account.

The past several weeks have seen a series of incidents in which journalists – mainly Palestinian journalists – have been attacked, detained, or targeted with gunfire while covering Israeli operations in the West Bank.

The majority of the attacks documented by IPI have taken place in or near Jenin, where Al Jazeera journalist and IPI World Press Freedom Hero Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli forces in May 2022. On July 3 and 4, the occupied West Bank city was the site of an Israeli raid that international media have called “Israel’s largest such operation in the West Bank since the end of the second Palestinian uprising in 2005”.

Most recently, on July 12, Israeli military forces stormed the West Bank city of Nablus injuring ten Palestinians, including two journalists, Nasser Shtayyeh and Hassan Qamhieh, who were wounded by live bullets from an Israeli sniper. On the same day in Hebron, a southern West Bank city, Israeli forces raided the home of WAFA News Agency journalist Joueid al-Tamimi as well as the homes of his relatives. According to al-Tamimi, “the soldiers fired toxic gas grenades in the houses, inspected vehicles and personal mobiles and conducted a local investigation about his family”.

Those incidents add to further cases compiled by IPI based on local news reports over the past several weeks:

• On July 10, Palestinian journalists Mohammad Turkman and Karim Khamyseh were detained at a military checkpoint near the city of Nablus for several hours on their way back from covering the events in Jenin. Israeli soldiers also allegedly assaulted them and sabotaged the wheels of their car, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA. The Quds News Network posted a video of the alleged slashed tires online.

• On July 5, an unnamed French journalist was arrested and detained while traveling from Jenin to Israel. Israeli authorities claimed he had three grenades in his car, including one tear gas grenade. The journalist was released without charges shortly after questioning.

• On July 4, the Israel Defence Forces fired tear gas on the entrance of Jenin Governmental Hospital, where journalists as well as medics and families were gathered.

• On July 3, while covering the Jenin raid, al-Arabi TV reporter Amid Shehadeh and cameraman Rabi Munir were reportedly directly targeted by Israeli gunfire, which damaged their camera and transmitter.

• On June 27, journalist Mohammad Muna was reportedly detained in the West Bank city of Nablus after Israeli forces raided his home.

• On June 24, Palestine TV cameraman Mohammad Radi and his colleague Falantina Abu Hamed, were reportedly fired at by the Israeli settlers damaging their camera.

• On June 19, as IPI previously reported, Palestinian journalist Hazem Nasser was hospitalized after being hit by sniper fire during an Israeli raid on Jenin.On June 19, as IPI previously reported, Palestinian journalist Hazem Nasser was hospitalized after being hit by sniper fire during an Israeli raid on Jenin.

The incidents reflect a wider pattern of Israeli aggression against journalists working in the West Bank. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has documented 200 media freedom violations committed by Israeli forces and authorities in the first half of 2023 alone.

Over the past two decades, at least 20 journalists in Palestine have been killed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), according to the Committee to Protect Journalists – with no accountability for these crimes. This includes the killing of Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli forces while reporting from the West Bank in Jenin. Israel initially denied responsibility, despite the publication of several independent reports indicating that Abu Akleh had been targeted by Israeli fire. Israeli authorities later admitted that there was a “high possibility” that Abu Akleh had been “accidentally” hit by its forces, but refused to pursue a further investigation or any charges against soldiers involved.

“IPI is alarmed by a pattern of attacks against journalists working in the West Bank by Israeli military forces. Israel must cease any targeted efforts to prevent journalists from covering events in the West Bank, and must respect and protect journalist safety”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said.

She added: “The continued impunity for the killing of IPI World Press Freedom Hero Shireen Abu Akleh is the most prominent example of a disturbing culture of unaccountability for attacks on journalists within the Israeli military. Israel must fulfil its obligation to ensure that any attacks on journalists and media freedom are investigated and result in consequences for those responsible.”