Israeli border police violently detained a veteran correspondent for the Al Jazeera satellite channel as she worked in a contested Jerusalem neighborhood where dozens of Palestinian families face eviction at the behest of Jewish settlers.
Givara Budeiri was released Saturday night, hours after border police detained her in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood while she was wearing a vest identifying her as a member of the press. Police also destroyed equipment belonging to a channel cameraman, according to Al Jazeera.
Budeiri suffered a broken arm and was still under observation at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital on Sunday, said Walid Omary, Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief.
Budeiri has been reporting regularly from Sheikh Jarrah, Omary said.
The reporter was covering a Palestinian sit-in at the site. Omary said Israeli border police asked for her ID, and she offered to call her driver to bring her from her car. The officers refused to let her go after her and instead began shouting and pushing her, Omary added. She told them not to touch her. At one point, the agents handcuffed her and pushed her against a border police vehicle.
Budeiri is accredited by the Israeli Government Press Office, Omary said.
Israeli police did not respond to a request for comment.
Al Jazeera acting director general Mostefa Souag condemned the police intervention. The systematic targeting of our journalists is a total violation of all international conventions, he said.
They are targeting journalists in East Jerusalem because they do not want them to continue covering what is happening inside Sheikh Jarrah, Omary said.
Tension in the neighborhood has stoked weeks of tensions and was a factor in the war between Israel and Hamas, after the Islamist group launched several rockets into Jerusalem on May 10 to position itself as a defender of Palestinian rights in the city.
The war, which killed 254 people in Gaza and 12 in Israel, ended on May 21. Gaza militiamen fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel, while Israel bombed hundreds of targets in Gaza that it said were associated with militiamen.
Impending evictions in Jerusalem are stalled following an intervention by the Israeli attorney general, but the settler campaign continues.
Rights groups fear that the evictions could be carried out anyway in the coming months as international attention wanes, potentially triggering another round of violence. The Israeli observer group Ir Amim, which closely follows the various court cases, estimates that at least 150 homes in two neighborhoods are under threat of eviction.
Souag accused Israel of systematically trying to silence the press. He noted that Budeiri’s arrest came after a May 15 attack that destroyed a skyscraper housing Al Jazeera’s local office. The tower also housed the Gaza bureau of The Associated Press.
Israel has alleged that Hamas military intelligence operatives operated in the building. AP says it had no indication of an alleged Hamas presence in the building, and has called for an independent investigation.