Israeli forces assault Palestinian journalists during ‘hunger strike’ march

At least 13 Palestinian journalists were injured as Israeli police forcibly evacuated a peaceful sit-in held in support of a mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Palestinian journalists were injured when Israeli forces violentenly dispersed of a peaceful sit-in in occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday, in support of a mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate denounced the Israeli actions and said it will strengthen their cause and “will not prevent journalists from delivering Palestinians’ message to the world”.

According to Maan News, at least 13 Palestinian journalists were injured as Israeli police dispersed protesters, who were marching through the streets and chanting slogans in solidarity with around 1,500 Palestinian prisoners who had been on hunger strike for 13 days.

The syndicate said Israeli forces also confiscated cameras and other equipment from journalists at the rally.

“This attack is just one of a series of attacks committed by Israeli forces against journalists in an attempt to prevent them from exposing Israeli crimes,” the statement said.

The assault came days after Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned Israeli forces for violating the rights of Palestinian and foreign journalists, particularly those who cover demonstrations.

“Under Israel’s system of administrative detention, Palestinian journalists can be held indefinitely without trial, without formal charge, and without notifying a lawyer,” the international organization said in its 2017 World Press Freedom report.

“They are often accused of inciting violence, cooperating with terrorist organizations, or otherwise posing a threat to Israel’s security.”

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) documented 249 press freedoms violations committed by Israeli authorities in the group’s annual 2016 report.

Launched on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, the hunger strike is being led by Palestinian leader and one of the most high-profile detainees Marwan Barghouti.

He is serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada against the Israeli occupation, and was put into solitary confinement for penning a comment piece for the New York Times, sparking protests.

The hunger strikers are currently only ingesting water and salt and are protesting for better living conditions, including better medical care and access to telephones.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes.

Around 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charge.

Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, but rarely on such a scale.