Givara Budeiri was assaulted and detained while covering demonstrations in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood.
Israeli police have arrested an Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent covering a demonstration in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, drawing sharp condemnation from press freedom advocates and media watchdogs.
Givara Budeiri, the Doha-based media network’s Jerusalem correspondent, was assaulted while being arrested on Saturday and her team’s equipment was destroyed.
Budeiri was reporting on a sit-in marking the 54th anniversary of al-Naksa, meaning “setback”, a term Palestinians use to describe the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip in 1967.
Sheikh Jarrah has also been the site of demonstrations for weeks in support of Palestinian families facing expulsion to make way for Jewish settlers.
Israeli forces assault and detain @AJArabic’s Jivara alBudeiri and smash the channel’s camera while the team was covering a demonstration marking 54 years of Naksa in #SheikhJarrah pic.twitter.com/TokxMDGBvR
— Rania Zabaneh (@RZabaneh) June 5, 2021
Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said Budeiri was arrested for no apparent reason and had been reporting while wearing a jacket with “press” printed on it.
She said Budeiri, a veteran journalist, was arrested even though she had tried to retrieve and show her Israeli-issued press card following a request by police.
“She was being pushed, that continued as she was trying to get her press card. And then as the cameraman was trying to reach her his camera was smashed,” Abdel Hamid said.
“We spoke to several witnesses and they all said there was no reason for that kind of tension and that it was not clear why they decided to specifically go [after] Givara while there were other journalists doing exactly what she was doing,” she said.
An Israeli police statement later said a man and a woman had been arrested because they were “suspected of harassing security forces”.
Pictures obtained by Al Jazeera showed the moment Budeiri was arrested.
Watch as Israeli occupation forces beat and detain veteran Bioreports journalist Givara Albudairi
There may be a ceasefire but Israel is still committing crimes #JournalismIsNotACrime
— Jamal Elshayyal جمال الدين الشيال (@JamalsNews) June 5, 2021
Israeli police also dispersed dozens of demonstrators who had managed to get to the neighbourhood, which has been closed off.
Barbara Trionfi, of the International Press Institute, expressed shock at the arrest and called for Budeiri’s immediate release.
“It is absolutely appalling,” she told Al Jazeera.
“We have seen a lot of targeted attacks against journalists by the Israeli forces throughout the past weeks and months and this is, unfortunately, not an isolated case,” Trionfi added.
“This type of behaviour by the Israeli forces is absolutely not acceptable.”
Sabrina Bennoui, spokesperson for Reporters Without Borders, told Al Jazeera the arrest was shocking and unacceptable.
“This is a clear violation of press freedom, because this journalist was clearly recognisable as she was wearing a press vest, and there is a clear will from the Israeli authorities to prevent journalists from doing their job and from reporting on the ground,” she said.
On May 15, an Israeli aid raid destroyed a building in the Gaza Strip that housed media offices of Al Jazeera and other outlets during an 11-day bombardment of the coastal enclave.