Israeli soldiers shot Palestinian journalist Momen Samreen in the head while he was doing his job

Israeli soldiers storm a Ramallah neighbourhood
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Israeli forces shot Palestinian journalist Momen Samreen in the head with a live round on Wednesday 7 June. Soldiers also shot fellow journalist Rabea’ Monir in the abdomen with a rubber-coated steel bullet.

The protective helmet Momen was wearing most probably saved his life. He was also wearing a blue press jacket.

Mo’men is reportedly in stable condition, but his injury is serious. He suffered a skull fracture and bleeding below the brain.

Punitive home demolition

Journalists were present as Israeli forces stormed a Ramallah neighbourhood. The soldiers’ aim was to carry out a punitive demolition of the home of a Palestinian prisoner. The Israeli courts had ordered the destruction of Islam Al-Froukh’s family home. Israeli authorities are accusing Islam of bombing a Jerusalem bus station. The house was home to Islam’s four sisters and his parents, The demolition made them homeless.

Israeli forces carried out the demolition at dawn on Thursday 8 June. The International Solidarity Movement tweeted this video of the explosion:

Punitive home demolitions are acts of collective punishment, targeted at the families of those who resist the occupation. Human rights organisation B’tselem explained why they are illegal under international law. It wrote:

Israel’s policy not only infringes the right to housing, it also breaches one of the most fundamental principles of justice: the prohibition on punishing a person for acts committed by another. The prohibition of collective punishment is especially stringent when the victims are children. The Fourth Geneva absolutely prohibits collective punishment without exception.

The demolition of Islam’s home was also an act of violence and collective punishment against the other people living in his neighbourhood. The soldiers fired live ammunition, tear gas and rubber bullets as they entered the area. Their actions injured 35 people, two of them seriously.

Targeting journalists

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information made this statement about the shooting of Momen Samreen:

the direct targeting of journalists by the Israeli occupation soldiers during the incursion into the city of Ramallah at dawn today is part of the open aggression against Palestinian journalists and a persistent disregard for all laws and treaties that provide protection for journalists during their work.

Israel’s colonial occupation forces routinely target and kill Palestinian journalists. Last year an Israeli sniper shot dead Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank city of Jenin. She was dressed in a helmet and blue jacket emblazoned with the word ‘Press’. The Israeli military said her death was an accident. However, an inquiry by legal advocacy organisation Al-Haq and investigative researchers Forensic Architecture found that Shireen was deliberately targeted.

Further, in April 2022 the International Federation of Journalists wrote:

At least 46 journalists have been killed [in Palestine] since 2000 and no one has been held to account.

Whatever the Israeli military says about the shooting of Momen Samreen should be taken with a large serving of salt. Israel’s police and military have a vested interest in ensuring that the reality of their actions against Palestinian communities aren’t put under the spotlight. It’s no surprise, then, that journalists in the region are under constant threat.

Featured image via screenshot / Hisham Abu Sahaqra

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