Palestinian journalists have long been at the forefront in calling the world’s attention on how the Israeli occupation has resulted to abuse and agression by Israeli forces. However, many of those journalists were also among those who suffer as a result of such aggressions; from arrests to serious injury, and at worst, death.
The most recent incident of violence involved Muath Amarneh, a Palestinian photojournalist who took a hit in the eye from a shot taken by an Israeli sniper, while Amarneh was documenting Israeli soldiers in Israeli-occupied Hebron.
Although the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) issued a statement condemning Armameh’s shooting, the condemnation continued to fall on deaf ears as far as Israeli auhtorities are concerned. Even the sit-in protest against Armameh’s wounding held by Palestinian journalists in Bethlehem, did not escape the Israeli force’s abusive treatment.
As the PJS stated
“The Israeli forces’ aggression against Amarneh, only represents a part of a series of attacks launched by the occupation forces in order to suppress and prevent Palestinian journalists from covering Israel’s continuing occupation of the Palestinian people.”
Even the Peaceful Sit-In Protest Was Not Spared from the Aggression
The sit-in solidarity protest saw dozens of activists and journalists coming from across Gaza and the West Bank, to show solidarity in voicing condemnation not only the violence committed against Amarneh but for many other journalists who were either injured or killed by Israeli forces in the past years.
Akram al-Waara, a Palestinian freelance reporter for Mondoweiss, told of how the Bethlehem sit-in protesters took to the streets with one eye covered to symbolize Amameh’s eye injury. However they were immediately dispersed when Israeli forces started firing tear gas. The sound bombs sent the crowd of protesters scampering for safety.
Akram added the Israeli forces not only suppressed the protest rather quickly but also and went after people, detaining a handful of them for several hours. Akram reported that any journalist filming the protest was a target.
Palestinian Journalists Turn to Social Media for Support
Unable to take their peaceful demonstrations to the streets, the protesters flooded social media sites with one-eyed photos of themselves. The collage of photographs came captioned as “We are All Muath.” Underneath was a brief explanation of the reason why they covered their eye with either their hand or with a patch is to highlight the result of an Israeli sniper’s intentional shooting of Amarne, who was at that time was documenting Israeli soldiers occupying Hebron.
The Palestinian social media post immediately drew the attention of international journalists particularly Activestills photographers, who joined the protest by posting similar one-eyed photos of themselves under the hashtags “The eye of the truth will not be shut” and “We are all Muath.”