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From the field

IDF soldiers beat two press photographers in Hebron, April 2006


al-Hashlamouni, 53

Nayef al-Hashlamouni

On Tuesday [18 April 2006] at around 4:15 in the afternoon, my brother 'Abd al-Hafiz al-Hashlamouni 42, called me to say that Israeli soldiers were beating Palestinian police officers near ' Aliyah Hospital . He is a press photographer for the European news agency EPA. I left my office, which is not far away from the site, and drove there by car. I got to Ibn Rushd Square , and when I entered the traffic circle, I saw about seven soldiers coming from the direction of the hospital, going in a northerly direction, toward ' Ein Sara Street . The square is about 400 meters from the hospital. At that moment, I spoke with my brother on my cellophane, and he told me that soldiers did not let him cross and had confiscated his camera. From where I was I could see the soldiers holding my brother's camera.

I stopped my car near the square. "Press" is written on my car. One of the soldiers came over to me. He appeared nervous. He saw my camera lying on the seat next to me, put in his hand in through the window, and took it. I got out of the car and asked him, in English, why he took it. I also said that I was a journalist and was on the job. In Hebrew, the soldier responded that he would also take the car. I told him that the equipment and car belonged to Reuters.

Right at that moment, my brother arrived with his other camera and wanted to take pictures of soldiers. Four soldiers assaulted him and beat him. They punched him and tried to take the camera. When I saw what was happening, I went back to my car and took another camera I had. I took pictures of the soldiers assaulting my brother. Then five soldiers came over to me, shoved me and threw me onto the hood of a parked car. They kicked me, hit me with the butts of their rifles, and threatened to shoot me. They aimed their rifles at me. I told them that I was fifty-three years old and had a bad heart. I was afraid they would shoot me. A crowd of civilians gathered around and shouted. A soldier threw a stun grenade at them to disperse them. Then some solders kicked my car. They put the cameras on the hood of the car and left.

A few journalists who arrived at the scene took my brother and me to ' Aliyah Hospital , where we were treated. I was bruised all over my body, and suffered a broken rib on my left side. I want to point out that I did not provoke the soldiers in any way.

Nayef Diab 'Abd al-Hafiz al-Hashlamouni, 53, married with five children, is a press photographer and a resident of Hebron. His testimony was given to Musa Abu Hashhash at his office on 20 April 2006.