Israeli troops detain Palestinian reporter at border crossing
Israeli security forces should immediately release Bakr Abdel Haq, a correspondent for the Palestinian Authority’s broadcaster Palestine TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Israeli troops on March 23 arrested Abdel Haq, who is based in the West Bank city of Nablus, at the al-Karama border crossing between Israel and Jordan as he was returning after receiving a reporting award in Cairo, according to news reports. The journalist was then transferred him to an interrogation facility in Jerusalem, according to his employer, to news reports, and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.
Nabhan Khraishi, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate’s communications officer, told CPJ that Abdel Haq was then transferred to the Petah Tikva intelligence facility where he is currently in detention. Israeli authorities have not filed charges against the journalist, according to Khraishi.
“It is ironic that Bakr Abdel Haq should be detained on his return home from receiving a journalism award as a Young Arab Journalist by the very security forces he has spent much of his short career covering,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney from New York. “Israeli security forces have a history of detaining Palestinian reporters who are just doing their job. This should stop and Bakr Abdel Haq should be released immediately.”
Israeli Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s email requesting comment.
Prior to his detention, Abdel Haq covered protests against the Israeli presence in Nablus, and the storming of Joseph’s Tomb, a holy site for Jews, Christians, and Muslims located in the city’s east, by Israeli settlers and security forces on January 30, according to posts on the journalist’s Facebook page.
At the time of his detention, Abdel Haq was returning from a March 20 award ceremony at Arab League headquarters in Cairo during which he was awarded a prize in the category of Young Arab Journalist, according to news reports and his Facebook profile.