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Haaretz: IDF – “Reuters reporter risked his life by going to Bil’in”

Original article published in Haaretz on the 19th April 2008, to see click here

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman on Friday said the Reuters writer who was lightly to moderately wounded by IDF fire near the West Bank separation fence in Bil’in put his life in danger by going to the area.

“It upsets us when photographers are hurt, but it should be noted that a photographer or any other civilian that enters a violent, closed military area is putting himself in danger of serious harm,” the IDF spokesperson’s statement read.

The statement also said that “today in the afternoon, around five Israeli civilians came to this area, along with foreigners and Palestinians, with the goal of damaging the fence and harming security personnel. These constitute dangerous, illegal disturbances that require IDF commanders establish a closed military area in the vicinity, and to use the means necessary to prevent an attack on soldiers, border patrolmen and the fence.”

The statement also accused demonstrators of using photographers as “human shields”, and said that some photographers actively encourage disturbances at the demonstrations.

“Today our forces used methods to disrupt the demonstrations that required the use of discriminatory and cautionary force,” the statement read, adding that the IDF will pursue “all means necessary to prevent damage to the fence, whose purpose is to prevent the carrying out of terrorist attacks on Israel.”

On Wednesday, a Palestinian cameraman working for Reuters was killed in the Gaza Strip when he was hit by a Flechette shell fired from an Israel Defense Forces tank, prompting the human rights group B’Tselem to reiterate their demand to discontinue the use of this fatal type of munition.

Fadel Shana, 23, was working for the news agency Reuters filming Israeli tanks when he was killed. Two other Palestinian civilians were also killed in the same incident