Journalism X Occupation- Script (en)

Created by Juman Quneis, Muna Al Kurd & Khawla Mohammed

This is a lens of an Israeli sniper’s rifle, watching the movement of an unarmed young man. The sniper aims at him and bets that he would shoot him to cheer.
On the other side, it is the lens of the camera of a Palestinian journalist monitoring and documenting the incident.
The impact of the two lenses is incomparable.
Upon its creation, the occupying state of Israel committed dozens of massacres. They were reported by survivors and some historians, since there was no press that could reach out to the victims.

The First Intifada which broke out in the 1980s and the Second Intifada at the onset of the current century drew international press attention. This child was killed by Israeli army bullets, and so were those children; they were killed by Israeli navy shelling. The details of their stories wouldn’t have been documented, had it not been for the accidental presence of the French TV cameras in the scene.
The documentation of the two stories and many other similar ones presents the truth of what is happening. Who tells the story of what is happening in this land must present documents to prove the credibility of their information.

Mousa al Shaer (Photojournalist):
The Israelis promote the narrative that Palestine was a land without a people. This is a denial of the Palestinian people’s existence. It is a denial of the human Palestinian existence. They target the human and the land. The Palestinian journalist spotlights this policy and certainly provokes the Israeli occupation.
The Israeli occupation always plans to cancel the Palestinian narrative to conceal its violations against all the components of the Palestinian society.
The press card, vest and badge haven’t protected many journalists from the Israeli occupation gun-fire. Forty five Palestinian journalists were killed by Israeli bullets since the year 2000; Fadil Shana’a, Yasir Murtaja and Ahmad Abu Hussien were among them.

Ashraf Abu Amra (Photojournalist):
I saw how my colleague, Fadil Shana’a, Cameraman of Reuters Agency, was shot dead in the year 2008. I was shot and injured in the same incident when Israeli occupation forces deliberately fired shells from their tanks towards a number of journalists and civilians in the area. Our colleague, Shana’a, fell dead on the spot – May his soul rest in peace – and I and my colleague, Wafa Abu Mazied, sustained injuries.
My colleague, Shana’a, was wearing the press vest with “Press TV” badge on it. We were having the sign of press on our jeep at that time. It was easy for the Israeli occupation forces to see that through the advanced equipment they have. The case of our other colleague Yaser Murtaja – May his soul rest in peace- wasn’t different. He was wearing the vest and the helmet with the press badge on it. I was also wearing the vest. I was just few meters away from him while he was documenting the incidents of the March of Return in the region of Khan Younis on the second Friday of the March of Return. He was deliberately and directly shot dead by the Israeli occupation’s fire.

Muaz Amarneh, Photojournalist:, from the Refugee Camp of Duhiesha, started his journey on ……to the town of Surif near Hebron to cover the peaceful protests organized there against the Israeli policy of land confiscation. The Israeli occupation army responded to the protest with gun-fire. The camera of Muaz which he had just fixed to film the confrontations filmed the first moments of his injury.
Ambulance……ambulance……..the journalist was injured……call an ambulance…….the journalist was injured……….in the face………….in the face.

Muaz Amarneh, Photojournalist:
He shot me with Ruger rifle – internationally banned weapon—
Thanks to Allah, it neither ended my life, nor paralyzed me. All my senses are sound, but I lost one of my eyes – thanks to Allah. Such incident proves that we were deliberately targeted. They targeted me. It wasn’t by chance.
Firstly, the sniper’s margin of error is zero. Secondly, when they usually injure somebody, they run to arrest him and if there are a lot of cameras, they pretend that they want to provide first aid for him. In my case, neither this, nor that happened. They didn’t try to arrest or help me. They had just filmed me as if they were betting if they could shoot me in the eye or not!

Raed al Sharif (TV Reporter):
when I looked at my colleague with his eye shot and his blood gushing down his face, he had regrettably lost his eye. I was shocked for the first few days of the incident. I was wondering if I were in the shoes of Muaz!

Muaz Amarneh, Photojournalist:
As a journalist, my eye is my soul; I use my eye to work not any other organ. Their message to me was clear – the photo you shoot would cost you your life or your job; if you aren’t afraid of death, we pluck out your eye with which you film the incidents.
In the village of Deir Jarir, east of Ramallah, Issam Rimawi was getting ready to cover the march that would launch shortly from the center of the village towards its outskirts in protest against the confiscation of several dunams of land for building a settlement. He was afraid of getting deliberately targeted.

Issam Al Rimawi: (Photojournalist)
Nothing is more difficult than being directly fired at with no protesters around you. You are fired at because you are a journalist. I was shot and injured 4 times in the shoulder and the foot while I was wearing, as you see, my press vest and helmet. My task as a journalist is to cover what is happening on the ground as it is with nothing more or less. I’m here to communicate the message of the Palestinian people.
As usual, the Israeli occupation forces suppressed the peaceful protest by firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
After ten years of working as a cameraman, it is possible to say that the photos of the protests organized against settlements and the apartheid wall are the same. However the details of the story of each photo remain indelibly alive in the memory of the person who shot them. Imagine how would it look like when the cameraman himself is the story of the photo?

Issam Al Rimawi: (Photojournalist)
In this photo which was taken in Biliin, a tear gas canister was directly fired and stuck to the vest. I forgot the cameras and took off the vest in seconds. My shirt and my vest were burned, but, thanks to Allah, my injury was moderate. I was rushed to hospital. Thanks to Allah, I recovered.
In this photo, I was injured at a close range while I was standing at the entrance of the Detention Center of Ofer. I told the Israeli soldier that I was on my way towards the young people. When I reached them, he threatened to shoot me. When I started to film them, he took his rifle down. However, when I turned my camera towards the young men, he hit me in the shoulder with a rubber bullet.
In this photo in al Raisan Mount in Ras Karkar village, I was shot and injured in my feet with a rubber bullet. It kept me from work for two weeks. The soldier shot me because I’m a journalist. I wasn’t standing near the protesters and they shot me after the protest was over.
Jerusalem is the most complicated cause, not only in terms of its political status. The Palestinian journalists aren’t recognized as journalists unless they work for Israeli media institutions.

Sarah Dajani (Journalist):
The Palestinian journalists of Jerusalem aren’t affiliated with the Israeli Journalists Union, and thus they aren’t officially recognized as journalists by the Israeli occupation state. Even when they join the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Israel doesn’t recognize them. Neither the Palestinian journalists Syndicate card nor that of the IFJ does qualify the Palestinian journalists to exercise their profession normally.

Dana Abu Shamseyh, Palestine TV Reporter:
They don’t recognize you as a Jerusalemite journalist, so it is possible to be subjected to any violations in the city of Jerusalem. This makes work difficult in Jerusalem and denies you the right to access information issued by the Israeli authorities. Priority is always given to Israeli journalists with regards to field coverage and access to certain sites. We aren’t allowed to enter places like the Israeli Knesset. We aren’t allowed access to seam zones, either, because we are Palestinian journalists. They don’t recognize our press cards.

Sarah Dajani (Journalist):
As a journalist, you might face a charge for just doing your work in the city of Jerusalem and get pursued. We have many journalists who were detained over the past years though they had IFJ’s cards.
I can say that in the year 2017, journalists were subjected to repression in all the events they covered, including the event of the Al Aqsa Gates when the Israeli occupation tried to install airport-like go-through metal detectors at all the entrances to electronically check the worshipers.
On one of those days, we were assaulted while I and my colleague were covering the incidents for Al Jazeera Satellite Channel. While we were streaming live, they began to act violently. The journalist who was beside me was injured in the foot with a rubber-coated bullet fired by the occupation forces. One of the soldiers also punched me, and “we got back home with injuries”.

Dana Abu Shamseyh, Palestine TV Reporter:
We were subjected to assaults several times. I was injured with stun grenade shrapnel in the foot and the hand. I was harshly beaten by the Israeli occupation forces. They confiscated our cameras and silenced our voice. They forced us to stop broadcasting and confiscated our equipment including our mobile phones under the pretext that we encourage terrorism in Jerusalem. The Jerusalemite journalist might be charged and placed under administrative administration. The Israeli occupation government has threatened to place us under administrative detention without any charge except for the fact that we work as journalists in the City of Jerusalem.

Sarah Dajani (Journalist):
I remember another harsh assault I was subjected to in 2019 when Muslims were celebrating Eid al-Adha in al Aqsa Mosque. There were calls by settler groups for storming the mosque during the time of the Eid prayer. On that day, the Israeli occupation police violently repressed the worshipers. When they started that, I was holding my camera and filming. They began to stave off journalists and I was beaten with a club by one of the soldiers. I suffered from that injury for two weeks.

Dana Abu Shamseyh – Palestine TV Reporter:
I was standing near Damascus Gate when Israeli occupation police pushed me down the steps there. I began shouting “I’m a journalist, I have a press card”, but this is never an excuse for a Jerusalemite journalist in the occupation state. On the contrary, they beat me even more harshly and pushed us out of place to prevent us from covering the event and to gag us. They used to cover the lenses of the cameras with their hands to prevent filming.
The Palestinians aren’t allowed to have visual media outlets in Jerusalem. Israel closes the offices of the Arab satellite channels that air what doesn’t match with the Israeli policies.

Sarah Dajani (Journalist):
We don’t have today any license for any radio station operating in the city of Jerusalem, except for Israeli occupation radio stations. We don’t have visual media outlets, either. Over the past years, Israel shut down a number of satellite channels that Palestinian journalists were working for such as al Quds Satellite Channel and Palestine TV.
Any station can be closed upon a decision by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security under the pretext that they are affiliated with an illegal organization or act in contravention of the “Israeli policies”. By such act, they cut off the source of livelihood for many Palestinian journalists and prohibit them from working in the city.

Dana Abu Shamseyh – Palestine TV Reporter:
The Palestinian media sector in Jerusalem is threatened. It is monitored by the Israeli media and government. The most recent violation was the Israeli government’s decision to shut down Palestine TV office in Jerusalem under the pretext of the emergency law. We were airing “Good Morning Jerusalem” program when the Israeli forces stormed our office. They beat and arrested us. I and my four colleagues were detained. We were forced to sign a financial bail and not to talk with the staff of the office. Imagine that you are prohibited from speaking with your friend or colleague at office. They ordered us to do so. They confiscated laptops, mobile phones, chargers, hard discs and other equipment. They held them in al Maskoubiya investigation center. Now, the 17 employees of the office have been unemployed for more than a year. They cut off our source of livelihood and undermined our passion and dream. All that has gone away. Why? Because an employee at the Israeli government decided that no Jerusalemite journalist can work in Jerusalem.
Since the Oslo Accord was signed, Hebron was divided into an Israeli controlled area (H1) and a Palestinian controlled area (H2), some parts of which Palestinian Muslims and Christians aren’t allowed to enter while Jewish settlers can.

Raed al Sharif (TV Reporter):
Hebron is different from other Palestinian governorates due to its division and the presence of Israeli settlers and the occupation army. The occupation army practices terrorism against the Palestinian journalists and supports the settlers who always try to assault us, not only in divided and threatened Hebron, but also in the streets of the West Bank. Behind us, lies al Haram al Ibrahimi, the Old City and al Shuhada’ Street. Should I try, as a Palestinian journalist, to enter any of these areas, I need a permit while Israeli settlers can move freely. If I try to get there once again, I might get detained or shot by the Israeli occupation army.
Peace to Camera
They turned the area in the heartland of Hebron into a closed military zone. (Raed al Sharif, Al Ghad, Palestine.

Mousa al Sha’er – Photojournalist:
The journalist’s right to freedom of movement is restricted. For example, the Palestinian journalists aren’t allowed to arrive at Jerusalem while foreign and Israeli journalists can move freely in the Palestinian territory. The Israeli checkpoints and gates erected at the entrances of the Palestinian villages and towns since the start of the Second Intifada restrict journalists’ ability to move. If these restrictions don’t hinder movement on foot, they hinder movement by cars. The Palestinian journalist has been forced to walk roads through mountains and farmlands on foot to bypass Israeli checkpoints.

Raed al Sharif (TV Reporter):
As journalists, we experience enormous oppression in Palestine while we are doing out work due to the policies the occupation state practices against us. They prohibit us from entering occupied Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Though I’m a 30 year old citizen of Hebron which is just a stone throw away from Gaza, 40 minutes by car, I have never visited Gaza.

Imad Zaqout – Al Aqsa Radio Director:
Like the other Palestinian citizens, the journalists in Gaza are under siege and they can’t travel from Gaza to the West Bank. They can’t travel to the Arab countries or to the rest of the world. This is part of the policy against the Palestinian journalists. They can’t travel from one place to another because of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
The complex of the PBC was demolished by the Israeli occupation in 2002, just ten years after Oslo accord was signed. It justified that saying that it aired a song describing the people who are killed by Israeli occupation bullets as martyrs. The same justification they still use to demolish or close any Palestinian media outlet.

Imad Zaqout Al Aqsa Radio Director:
Al Aqsa Network was targeted 10 times during Israeli military attacks and wars on Gaza. Many other media outlets were also targeted during the previous wars on Gaza including al Risalah newspaper. Many media offices, press outlets and journalists were directly targeted while they were covering the Israeli military escalation on Gaza.

Ayman Qawasmeh, Director of Minber al Hurriya Radio Station
Minber al Hurriya Radio Station was subjected to demolition and theft by the Israeli occupation for four times. The Israeli occupation used to accuse us of incitement for terrorism. It demolished the building of the Radio Station and stole all the equipment upon a military decision to shut down the Radio station. The Israeli occupation forces returned once again in the same barbaric way and besieged the building. They shut down the Radio Station for 6 months and stole the equipment and an amount of $450.000.
Between the fears of a high price they might pay any moment and the passion for reporting what is happening, the attitude of the Palestinian journalists towards the future of their profession and ability to continue differs.

Mousa al Sha’er: Photojournalist:
– I think that every situation the Palestinian journalist is exposed to is humiliating and provocateur. It makes them feel that their dignity is targeted. Throughout the years of my work as a journalist, I frankly faced several such situations. While foreign and Israeli journalists working next to us are treated kindly, we were treated violently. The Israeli occupation looks down on us.

Raed al Sharif (TV Reporter):
If I could go back in time for ten years, I would choose another job other than journalism because of the oppression we go through in Palestine. Psychologically, we collapse when we see the crimes committed and meet the mothers of martyrs, injured and prisoners. Furthermore, we are subjected to assaults. What does the occupation state want from the Palestinian journalists?

Ashraf Abu Amra (Photojournalist):
To be a journalist in Gaza means to carry your soul in your hands. You might fall martyr or get injured any moment. To be a journalist in Gaza is to expect to get injured, martyred or incapacitated any time. We see tragic scenes our colleagues go through. However these scenes motivate us to continue to deliver this noble message. The message we deliver to the world is that the lives of the people of Gaza matter, the lives of the journalists of Gaza matter.

Imad Zaqout – Al Aqsa Radio Director:
To be a journalist in Gaza is to be a fighter, human and holder of the flag of Palestine. It is to be continually targeted by the Israeli occupation because you are defending the Palestinian cause which the Israeli occupation is trying to wipe out.

Dana Abu Shamseyh – Palestine TV Reporter:
When I decided to become a journalist, I thought I would be like any other journalist in the world, just like the journalists who appear on the TV screens. “You know when you are young; you think it would be wonderful. You think you can reach to the president’s house, to protests, people in the street. In reality, it is different, you have to remember that you are a journalist, but a journalist of Jerusalem…”Jerusalemite”. It is different in terms of freedom of movement, freedom of expression, being under occupation as stated in international law. You are different because you are Jerusalemite, but not Israeli, living in this place. You remember that your boundary isn’t the sky as you used to think. I realize that my boundaries in this place are those drawn for me by the Israeli forces.

Sarah Dajani (Journalist):
Since childhood, I was interested in news about Jerusalem, and so I feel proud today being a citizen of Jerusalem. I was born in Jerusalem and I work as journalist for the sake of Jerusalem. I chose this profession because it has a different flavor in Jerusalem despite all its risks. Each individual chooses this profession has a big responsibility for Jerusalem. When someone asks me what I do, I answer with happiness “I’m Sarah al Dajani, journalist and interested in the first place in Jerusalem affairs”.

Muaz Amarneh, Photojournalist:
As a young journalist, my injury impacted my life. I hesitate to practice filming, carry the camera, go out with the camera. I think a thousand times before I go out of my house. It isn’t easy. The eye is priceless; it is indispensable. I can’t film without it. As a cameraman, I practice my profession with my eye. When one eye looks through the lens of the camera, the other eye would be watching the second shot you plan to have.
The individual’s balance while walking is different with one eye. It is different from having two eyes. All that had impacted me. My source of livelihood was cut off because of this injury, but I try to train myself. It has been one year since I was injured and I shall return to my work and deliver the message of my people, just like before and even better in God’s will.

Ayman Qawasmeh, Director of Minber al Hurriya Radio Station:
Though the Radio station was damaged 4 times, we returned from under the rubble. We returned stronger than before because we have a message and the occupation can’t muffle this voice. The voice of Minber al Hurriya will continue to echo loudly in the sky of Palestine, God willing.

Prepared by
Juman Quneis
Khawlah Muhammad
Muna Al Kurd
Azzam Hafez

Muna Al Kurd
Khawlah Muhammad
Hassan Isaltih

Khawlah Muhammad

Script and Comment
Juman Quneis

Acknowledgment to:
Minbar Al Hurriya Radio Station
Al-Ray Palestinian Media Agency
Palestine TV
Juman Quneis

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