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AP: Israeli army “accused of attacking journalists”

Associated Press

The Tel Aviv-based Foreign Press Association on Thursday accused the IDF of “unprovoked violence against journalists” after two Palestinian journalists were beaten up and one of them detained in the West Bank.

“In both cases there is no evidence that either colleague was doing anything other than pursuing their journalistic duties,” the FPA said in a statement.

Emad Borat, a freelance cameraman for Reuters news agency and other groups, has remained in custody since he was detained while filming soldiers entering the Palestinian village of Bil’in on Oct. 6, said Shai Carmeli-Pollak, an [Israeli] film maker.

Bilin, located near the boundary with Israel, is the scene of weekly protests against the West Bank security barrier. Pollak said Borat was beaten up inside a military jeep after his detention and needed six stitches for a gash on his face.

A military judge has ordered Borat to be released, but he remains in custody while prosecutors appeal the order. The IDF has accused Borat of throwing stones at border police while filming, Pollak said.

Borat was the main photographer for Pollak’s documentary, “Bilin My Love,” which won best documentary at the recent Jerusalem Film Festival.

The FPA complaint also cited the case of Jaafar Ashtiyeh, a photographer for Agence France Presse. Ashtiyeh, 38, said an Israeli soldier chased and kicked him after he tried to take photographs of an Israeli checkpoint next to the West Bank city of Nablus.

The FPA, which represents foreign journalists in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said both cases raised “serious concerns about the treatment of journalists by members of the Israeli armed services.”

The IDF did not return calls seeking comment.