Israeli military personnel detained and threatened journalists from the German television station ARD, BTA reported.
TV correspondent Jan-Christoph Kitzler was returning from an interview, accompanied by two of his colleagues – a German and a Palestinian – when the group was stopped by Israeli soldiers south of the city of Hebron. The military personnel behaved extremely aggressively with the journalists and several times pointed weapons at their vehicle.
Bavarian Radio, which is part of the ARD network and runs its media studio in Tel Aviv, described the incident as an attack on freedom of speech.
According to the ARD announcement, the journalists were preparing a report on the violence that Israeli settlers are using against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. “The soldiers threatened us with their weapons and asked us if we were Jews. They insulted one of our colleagues, calling him a traitor,” Kitzler said. According to him, the tense situation lasted for more than an hour and things calmed down only after other soldiers and policemen were called to the scene.
“The Israel Defense Forces apologize for the inconvenience caused,” Israel’s Defense Ministry said in a statement to DPA after the agency was asked for comment. “The actions of the military were investigated, and the protocols were reviewed,” the statement also says, although it does not mention whether any measures were taken or whether violations were found.
In late October, the Foreign Press Association in Israel called on the Israeli army to ensure the safety of journalists and complained of two incidents in the West Bank in which soldiers harassed members of the media. One of the cases in question also involved ARD journalists who were detained for two hours by the military while covering Israeli settler violence against Palestinians.