AFP photographer hit as Israel fires on Gaza protesters

Palestinian paramedics place Mohammed Abed al-Baba, an AFP photographer, on a stretcher after he was wounded in the Gaza Strip on June 8, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 08 June 2018
0

AFP photographer hit as Israel fires on Gaza protesters

  • Mohammed Abed Al-Baba, who has worked for AFP in Gaza since 2000, said he was shot in the leg while wearing a clearly identified press vest and helmet in northern Gaza.
  • The bullet hit him below the knee, with his condition not life threatening, medics said.

GAZA CITY: An AFP photographer was shot in the leg as Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators along the Gaza border on Friday, the health ministry and the journalist said.
Mohammed Abed Al-Baba, who has worked for AFP in Gaza since 2000, said he was shot in the leg while wearing a clearly identified press vest and helmet around 200 meters (yards) from the border east of Jabalia in northern Gaza.
Health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra said Baba was wounded by Israeli fire.
The bullet hit him below the knee, with his condition not life threatening, medics said.
Three Palestinians, among them a 15-year-old, were killed by Israeli fire elsewhere along the border as thousands demonstrated, the health ministry added.
The Israeli army said it was dealing with a riot.
Minor clashes were underway east of Jabalia when Abed was shot and he said he was trying to photograph a wounded protester.
He was taken to the Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza for treatment, where a doctor said he would undergo surgery to stabilize a bone.
The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Abed.
It has accused Gaza’s rulers Hamas of manipulating the protests to conceal the infiltration of militants planning attacks.
Abed has been working for AFP in Gaza since 2000, covering three wars between Israel and Hamas.
He has won multiple awards.
Since widespread protests broke out along the Gaza border on March 30, Baba has been covering them daily — with his photos widely used across the globe.
At least 128 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began on March 30. No Israelis have died.


Israel targets rights groups with bill to outlaw filming of soldiers

Israeli soldiers are under constant attack by Israel haters, says defense minister. (AFP)
Updated 17 June 2018
0

Israel targets rights groups with bill to outlaw filming of soldiers

  • Rights groups frequently film Israeli soldiers on duty in the occupied West Bank, documentation the organizations say is necessary to expose abuse by the military
  • A ministerial committee which oversees legislation voted to approve the bill on Sunday

JERUSALEM: Israel moved on Sunday to snap the lens shut on rights groups that film its troops’ interactions with Palestinians by introducing a bill that would make it a criminal offense.
Rights groups frequently film Israeli soldiers on duty in the occupied West Bank, documentation the organizations say is necessary to expose abuse by the military.
A video filmed by Israeli rights group B’Tselem in 2016 showing an Israeli soldier shoot dead an incapacitated Palestinian assailant drew international condemnation and led to the soldier’s conviction for manslaughter in a highly divisive trial.
The proposed law, formulated by the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, would make filming or publishing footage “with intent to harm the morale of Israel’s soldiers or its inhabitants” punishable by up to five years in prison.
The term would be raised to 10 years if the intention was to damage “national security.”
A ministerial committee which oversees legislation voted to approve the bill on Sunday. It will now go to parliament for a vote that could take place this week and if ratified, will be scrutinized and amended before three more parliamentary votes needed for it to pass into law.
Yisrael Beitenu leader and Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, praised the committee and said: “Israeli soldiers are under constant attack by Israel haters and supporters of terrorism who look constantly to degrade and sully them. We will put an end to this.”
A Palestinian official condemned the move.
“This decision aims to cover up crimes committed by Israeli soldiers against our people, and to free their hands to commit more crimes,” Deputy Palestinian Information Minister Fayez Abu Aitta told Reuters.
The phrasing of the bill stops short of a blanket ban, aiming instead at “anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian organizations” which spend “entire days near Israeli soldiers waiting breathlessly for actions that can be documented in a slanted and one-sided way so that soldiers can be smeared.”
Naming B’Tselem and several other rights groups, the bill says many of them are supported by organizations and governments with “a clear anti-Israel agenda” and that the videos are used to harm Israel and national security.
The ban would cover social networks as well as traditional media.
B’Tselem shrugged off the bill.
“If the occupation embarrasses the government, then the government should take action to end it. Documenting the reality of the occupation will continue regardless of such ridiculous legislation efforts,” the group’s spokesman, Amit Gilutz, said.
B’Tselem’s video of the shooting in the West Bank in 2016 led to Israeli soldier Elor Azaria being convicted of manslaughter. He was released in May after serving two-thirds of his 14-month term. Opinion polls after his arrest showed a majority of Israelis did not want a court-martial to take place.