IDF detain RT’s Redfish stringer while covering rally against Jordan Valley annexation in West Bank

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‘You’ll have a great time’: IDF detain RT’s Redfish stringer while  covering rally against Jordan Valley annexation in West Bank

Israeli military detained a stringer working for RT’s Redfish project as he was filming a Palestinian protest against the annexation of the Jordan Valley and released him only after taking his camera’s memory card.

It was the last shooting day for a small Redfish crew working on a documentary about Israel’s plans to annex some parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. Producer Ahmad Al-Bazz and a cameramen stringer, Ameen Nayfeh, set out to the small village of Zubaidat to cover a small protest staged by locals opposing the annexation.

At first, it seemed that it was going to be a regular filming day. “When we arrived the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] were surrounding the village. We managed to enter and nobody stopped us,” Al-Bazz told RT. The soldiers took the journalists’ IDs and press cards but quickly returned the documents.

Israel’s PM still has no consensus with US and main coalition partner on West Bank annexations – minister

“It was not a huge protest, yet, there were some tense moments,” Nayfeh said, adding that the Israeli military were “very aggressive.”

“They were pushing the people and were shouting and swearing,” he recalled, adding that the IDF soldiers threw a stun grenade in a small crowd of demonstrators consisting of just between 50 and 70 people.

The crew had already stopped filming and were standing aside when they somehow drew the attention of the IDF. “An officer came to us, he was pointing his finger at us and he was very violent in his body language,” Nayfeh said. The journalists sought to explain they were at the scene on official business but even a document confirming they were “a crew working for RT” apparently failed to persuade the officer.

“He ordered his soldiers to take me,” Nayfeh told RT. “I was surrounded by six or seven soldiers.”

“They took the camera and I was afraid they would break it. They said I will come with them and I will ‘have a good time.’” The man was eventually released only after he agreed to hand over his camera’s memory card to the IDF.

It is not the first such incident since the IDF began cracking down on media working in the Palestinian territories. The Israelis have gone as far as to raid local TV and radio broadcasters over the past few years while accusing them of “inciting” violence. During one such raid in 2017, a local RT provider was shut down.

The latest example comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actively pushes for the annexation of the Jordan Valley as well as some other Palestinian territories in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Netanyahu has set July 1 as the starting date for cabinet discussions on the issue.

Yet, he apparently has some trouble getting approval for the plan from his allies in Washington and even his coalition partners at home.

 

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