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Israel detains five Palestinian journalists in Jerusalem live on air Open in fullscreen

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Israel detains five Palestinian journalists in Jerusalem live on air

Three of the five Palestine TV journalists following their release [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 December, 2019

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Israeli intelligence officers on Friday arrested five Palestinian journalists working for Palestine TV, part of a wider crackdown on Palestinian media in the holy city.
Israeli police detained five journalists on Friday from the Palestinian Authority's official television station in Jerusalem, confiscating their cameras and television equipment. 

According to a producer with Palestinian TV Nader Bibars, Israeli intelligence officers broke into the film set of 'Good Morning Jerusalem', a Palestinian talk show, while it was being broadcast on the Mount of Olives in occupied East Jerusalem, to carry out their arrests.

The Palestinian Information Ministry named those detained as the presenter of the programme Dana Abu Shamsiya, cameraman Amir Abed Rabbo, and the guest on the show, Mohammed Abbasi.

In a separate incident, two other Palestinian journalists, Palestine TV reporter Christine Rinawi and cameraman Ali Yassin, were detained while filming in the Damascus Gate (Bab Al-Amoud) area, one of the entrances to the Old City.

Wafa, the Palestinian news agency, has reported that all but one of the journalists, former prisoner Mohammad al-Abbasi, were later released. 

Read more: Israel shuts down Palestine TV channel in Jerusalem following solidarity with blind journalist 

The crew, according to Wafa, have been issued an order preventing them from contacting one another and working with Palestine TV for 15 days. They are required to pay a daily bail of 2,000 shekels (£439) if they do not to comply.

Numerous Palestinian officials and experts have condemned the detention, describing it as a violation of international law. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has described the arrests of the crew as part of the Israeli government's project to further entrench Israel's grip on the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) also condemned the arrests, labelling them a "crime added to the list of crimes committed against Palestinian media outlets and journalists."

This year has seen Israel launch a harsh crackdown on journalists in Palestine.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate have reported over 600 violations against Palestinian journalists, including 60 cases of injury as a result of shootings and 170 cases of beatings, detentions and restrictions on reporting. 

Read more: Israel's serial abuse of Palestinian journalists reaches a new low this year 

Last month, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan confirmed the closure of the offices of Palestine TV. 

He alleged that the TV station had broadcast "anti-Israeli content" in which the country was presented as "responsible for war crimes and ethnic cleansing."

The closure followed the appearance of the channel's news anchors live on air with eye patches, in a show of solidarity with reporter Muath Amarneh, who was hit in the eye by Israeli forces while covering protests near Hebron.

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