Israeli Soldiers Beat Palestinian Journalist Documenting West Bank Demolition

Basel Al-Adra says soldiers hit him after throwing him to the ground near the village of al-Tuwani, where the force had ordered a local man to take down a makeshift structure

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A view of the West Bank village of al-Tuwani, last year.
A view of the West Bank village of al-Tuwani, last year.Credit: Emil Salman
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Israeli soldiers hit a Palestinian journalist on Sunday near the village of al-Tuwani in the South Hebron hills, partially documented in a video showing the soldiers restraining him by force while he was on the ground.

Basil al-Adraa, a journalist writing for online publications Local Call and +972 Magazine, told Haaretz that the soldiers attacked him with their weapons for no apparent reason while he was lying on the floor, despite being told that he was a journalist. 

Adraa was in al-Tuwani to report on Israeli soldiers' order for a Palestinian to take down a makeshift structure he had built there.

As he started documenting, Adraa recalled, one of the soldiers shoved him while "a masked officer said that anyone who tried to pass him would be arrested." Adraa added that he asked the soldiers whether they had a military decree and was not given an answer.

"I did not pass the line the officer indicated, but he ordered to arrest me anyway. I told them I was a journalist and was filming," he said.

At this point, two soldiers "grabbed me violently, pushed me, and threw me to the ground, which was covered in stones. My sandals and video camera fell off as they started to hit me with their weapons and kicked me," he said, adding that the soldiers identified him by name, as he often reports in that area.

The soldiers did not arrest Adraa. He had to find help from others to be evacuated to a nearby hospital, where staff ran some tests before releasing him.

In a statement, the Israeli military said it was looking into the incident, without any mention of Adraa. It said that in clashes between the Israeli forces and local Palestinians, the latter "threw stones, set tires on fire, and exhibited physical and verbal violence."

In addition to his work as a journalist, Adraa is also a volunteer photographer with Jerusalem-based human rights NGO B'Tselem.

His name resurfaced in Israeli media last week when Channel 12 News reported Ofer Haddad read out a statement on live TV, walking back an earlier report falsely tying Adraa to an arson attempt two months ago.

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