The global solidarity campaign following the blinding of a Palestinian photographer by Israeli security forces is a reminder that try it might, Israel won’t be able to stop Palestinian journalists from telling the story of the occupation.
By Omri Najad
Last Friday, Palestinian photographer Moath Amarnih headed out to document a protest by the residents of Surif in the occupied West Bank. It was the second time in two weeks that they tried to demonstrate against the theft of their land by settlers. Shortly after the nonviolent protest began, a few young men began throwing stones at Border Police officers in the area.
The officers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and Amarnih — who was photographing the clashes from a nearby hill — was struck by a bullet in his eye. A 0.22-inch Ruger bullet was likely aimed at one of the protesters or was fired at the ground before ricocheting into Amarnih’s head. He was, at the time, wearing a press flak jacket.
Ever since, dozens of Palestinian and Israeli journalists have joined a campaign in solidarity with Amarnih, photographing themselves with one eye covered.
Surif’s residents have, for the past two weeks, demonstrated against a fence that was built around a large tract of their agricultural land in order to expand the nearby settlement of Bay Ayin. Amarnih’s shooting exposes the criminal flippancy with which Israel’s security forces aim — and often shoot — their weapons at Palestinian photographers in the West Bank and Gaza.
In March 2019, an investigative committee of the UN’s Human Rights Council published a report on Israel’s killing of unarmed protesters at the Gaza fence in 2018. According to the report, Israeli forces shot two Gaza photographers dead, while another 39 journalists were wounded by snipers. These injuries were caused despite the likelihood that the snipers recognized them as journalists, due to their flak jackets. Israeli snipers continue to shoot and wound journalists who documented the protests.Read More