Palestinian Authority security services assaulted a large group of journalists Wednesday. The group was covering a Hamas protest against the detention of Hamas members by the Palestinian Authority at Lion Square in downtown Ramallah.
According to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (MADA) a Ramallah-based media watchdog group, PA security forces insulted the journalists, confiscated equipment, and prevented them from filming the event.
One victim, Filistin al-Yom cameraman Hadi Al-Dibbs, told MADA that plainclothes security forces attacked and punched him, then tried to seize his camera and prevented him from taking photos. Another man, an independent photographer named Mohammed Jaradat, said police broke into his office overlooking the square having spotted him photographing from the balcony. He was detained and police confiscated his camera. Others were beaten badly enough to require medical treatment from the Red Crescent Society.
In a statement posted on the MADA website, the organization said there has been a sharp escalation since the Palestinian Unity Government agreement was signed on June 2. The organization also demanded the Palestinian Authority investigate the attack and hold the individuals involved responsible.
However, one of the wounded journalists said he did not expect the Palestinian Authority to follow through on the incident. Speaking on condition of anonymity because he is afraid of government retribution, the journalist said those calling on the Palestinian Authority to show responsibility simply do not understand who they are dealing with.
“You want Abu Mazen to ‘investigate’?”, the journalist told The Jewish Press. “The Palestinian Authority has been harassing journalists since it was founded. Why do you think this episode will be any different?”