Twelve Palestinian journalists said they were beaten by police in Jerusalem’s Old City over the past three days of escalating violence, some requiring medical attention. According to one journalist and another source, they heard officers instructing police personnel to use force against photographers.
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Palestinian journalists have complained recently that they are being treated more harshly, especially in the Old City and around the Temple Mount. About three weeks ago, journalists were cited for setting up tripods and they are frequently moved away by police, sometimes using force.
But since the recent spate of violence in Jerusalem erupted three days ago, the journalists say they have become a target to the police.
“They attacked me twice in two days. Two policemen beat me on the legs. I’ve been in the field for 10 years and this is the first time I’ve seen something like this. I heard them with my own ears say that journalists should be assaulted,” AFP photographer Ahmed Rarbaleh said.
“No journalist is a target," Jerusalem police spokesman Commander Assaf Aharoni said. When [the police are] dispersing a crowd or making an arrest they are sometimes hurt when running or falling,” the Jerusalem police spokesman said.
Hundreds of extra police officers will be deployed in Jerusalem following the escalation, acting Police Commissioner Bentzi Sau said on Tuesday.
At a special meeting convened at the capital, Sau called on police forces to stop "the law-breakers" and said Israel Police "will not spare any means or forces necessary" to quell the unrest.