French cameraman shot; Israeli soldiers confiscate journalists' videotapes

Lutfi M. Hussein lutfi.hussein at ASU.EDU
Wed Apr 10 20:07:18 UTC 2002

Jordan Times
Wednesday, April 10, 2002

French cameraman shot; Israeli soldiers confiscate journalists' videotapes
By Ibrahim Hazboun
The Associated Press

BETHLEHEM — A French cameraman was shot and wounded at the entrance to a
refugee camp in the northern West Bank, fellow reporters said on Tuesday, while
in Bethlehem, Israeli occupation soldiers confiscated the videotapes of two
foreign journalists.
These were among several incidents involving Israeli forces and journalists in
the West Bank. The Israeli military has banned reporters from areas under its
occupation, but the ban is not consistently enforced.

Six groups representing journalists — the local Foreign Press Association and
five international bodies — issued a joint statement Tuesday calling on the
Israeli government to lift the ban on reporters, calling it “excessive,
unjustifiable and utterly counterproductive.”

The statement also called on the Israeli government to cease its public
statements attacking the foreign press and to provide accreditation to
Palestinians working for foreign media. The groups appealed to “all the
Palestinian factions to cease efforts to confiscate materials or intimidate

French cameraman Gilles Jacquier, a cameraman for France 2 television, was shot
as he stepped out of his car at the entrance to El Ain refugee camp near the
city of Nablus.

Jacquier was travelling with a large group of journalists, fellow reporters
said. He fell to the ground, saying that he had been shot, said APTN cameraman
Nazeeh Darwazeh, who witnessed the scene.

Jacquier was wearing a flak jacket at the time, but the bullet penetrated his
collarbone. Doctors displayed the small bullet they removed and said it came
from either a handgun or an Uzi submachinegun. The Israeli-made weapon is no
longer used by field units.

The Israeli military said it coordinated with Palestinians to evacuate
Jacquier, who could not identify who shot at him. Jacquier was reported to be
in a stable condition.

In Bethlehem, Yuzuru Saito, a reporter with TV Tokyo, said he was walking with
a cameraman in the narrow alleyways of the Old City when they came upon
soldiers hiding between the houses. He said the soldiers stopped them and said
they were not allowed to film in the area.

“They took the camera and started playing with it, pressing all the buttons. I
asked him not to break it or do anything to damage it and he opened it and took
the tape,” Saito told The Associated Press. “Then he asked us to leave. He said
`You have one minute, if you don't we will shoot,' and we left.”

Also in Bethlehem, French cameraman Vincent Benhamou said he was interviewing
families in their homes. When he left one house, he came face to face with
Israeli soldiers. He said the soldiers were abusive and threatening.

“I tried to explain that I'm a journalist and I'm doing my work here, but they
insisted on taking my tape,” Benhamou said. “They pointed their weapons at me,
they took the tape and asked me to leave immediately. I started walking away
then I heard two single shots in the air. I think they were trying to scare

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the incidents, but said that
journalists were not allowed in Bethlehem. Several days ago the Israeli
military declared the biblical town a closed military zone and banned

Also in Bethlehem, Givara Budeiri, a reporter for the Arabic satellite TV
channel Al Jazeera, said she tried to leave Bethlehem due to illness, but when
her two-car convoy approached the Israeli checkpoint at the entrance to the
town, soldiers fired at the ground and ordered them to return. The army said it
was looking into the incident.

Israel has come under criticism for its actions toward journalists reporting in
the West Bank. Several international press groups have attacked Israel's policy
of expelling journalists from occupied Palestinian cities and accused Israeli
troops of shooting at reporters.

The Israeli military and government have issued statements declaring that the
cities are off limits and that reporters are working there at their own risk.

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