Foreign Press Association in Israel slams Al Jazeera reporter arrest

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(FILE) A file picture taken in front of the Saudi Consulate in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, west of Paris on October 1, 2019 shows dummies with press armbands and jacket piled up by Reporters without borders (RSF) members during a protest to mark the one year of the death of Jamal Khashoggi. - The annual report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on April 19, 2021 that journalism was at least partly blocked in nearly three-quarters of the 180 countries surveyed. Its World Press Freedom Index found 73 countries "totally blocked or seriously impeded" journalism, while it was "constrained" in 59 others, adding that many governments had used the pandemic to worsen repression. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP) Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/dpa

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel on Sunday slammed the arrest of a correspondent for Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera at protests in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

“This is the latest in a long line of heavy-handed tactics by Israeli police in recent weeks against clearly identified journalists,” it said in a statement. The FPA called on police to punish the officers who injured the correspondent and to uphold freedom of the press.

The journalists, Givara Budeiri, seen in videos with a vest with the words “Press” on it, was released four hours after being detained while covering protests in the tense neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

She received treatment in hospital for a broken hand and bruises, according to the statement. Her cameraman was also beaten by police.

Police had also not allowed the Al Jazeera correspondent to to go to her car to show them her Israeli-issued press card, the FPA said.

An Israeli police spokesman said on Saturday that the correspondent had physically attacked security forces while they were trying to break up the demonstration and she had refused to identify herself.

Conflict over the possible evictions of Palestinian families in the neighbourhood have exacerbated tensions recently. It has been the focus of attention for decades because of property disputes.

Both Israeli settlers and Palestinians claim ownership there.

Protests continued in Sheikh Jarrah even after a May 21 ceasefire was reached between Israel and the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.

A court decision on the forced evictions had been postponed.

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