Israeli Border Police officers beat and injured Anadolu Agency photojournalist Mustafa Alkharouf and attacked cameraman Faiz Abu Ramila in East Jerusalem on 15 December, the same day that the Israeli military killed Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abudaqa and injured bureau chief Wael Al Dahdouh in Gaza.
Footage shows Israeli police harassing Alkharouf before hitting him with a gun, forcing him to the ground, and kicking him in the head repeatedly.
Alkharouf, who was covering Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, was injured and hospitalized as a result of the physical assault, while Abu Ramila’s condition is unknown.
The Israeli Police said it suspended the officers involved and opened an investigation into the incident.
The Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) Program Director, Carlos Martínez de la Serna, denounced the attack.
“The physical attack on Mustafa Alkharouf is not a singular incident. It belongs to a pattern of physical attacks, assaults, and threats by Israeli soldiers and settlers on journalists reporting from the West Bank and Israel that have dramatically increased since October 7,” de la Serna said on 15 December. He called on Israeli authorities to stop attacking journalists.
Meanwhile, responding to the killing of Abudaqa at the Farhana School of Khan Yunis in the south of Gaza, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that the US has no “indication that [Israel is] deliberately targeting journalists.”
Al Jazeera journalist and Gaza City bureau chief Wael Dahdouh, whose family was killed by Israel earlier in the war on Gaza, was also injured in the drone strike that killed Abudaqa.
On his part, Deputy General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, Tim Dawson, said that the Israeli military’s actions are “now a press freedom issue.”
“What is [the Israeli army] trying to achieve? Why won’t they let foreign journalists in?” Dawson asked.
According to CPJ, at least 64 journalists and media workers have been killed since 7 October, comprising 57 Palestinians, four Israelis, and three Lebanese.
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
Over 18,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including at least 7,000 children — and over 41,316 others injured. Meanwhile, at least 259 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and at least 3,365 have been injured.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been de-escalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least six times, and limited aid trucks have crossed to Gaza so far, which UN officials warn is insufficient amid dire humanitarian conditions.
Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire.