Palestinian journalists documented IDF
soldiers while they beat them with clubs during an arrest in Kafr Kadum
on Friday. The IDF said that the journalists were released shortly after their arrest, which followed a demonstration.
The demonstration was part of a weekly protest
over what the Palestinians claim is "Israeli annexation and seizure of the village's lands."
The protests are usually attended by Palestinians and foreign activists. The journalists covering the event work for Palestinian press as well as foreign media outlets.
They were wearing vests which read "Press" and carried cameras which identified them as members of the press. They were not visibly part of any conflict between the residents and IDF troops.
Video shows soldiers beating journalists
The video shows two IDF vehicles pulling over near the journalists. One soldier is heard calling them "come here" and a photographer is seen being separated from the group.
A soldier wearing a gas mask and holding a baton is seen ordering one of the journalists to sit down and not go near his colleagues, standing a few yards away.
Later in the video, other soldiers are seen approaching the Palestinian journalists while swinging their clubs. One of the soldiers is seen hitting a journalist who refused to accompany the troops.
Later on, soldiers are seen hitting two other members of the press. Among the detained journalists were correspondents of the French and Chinese news agencies as well as Palestinian media.
'Attack was unprovoked'
Bakher Abdel Hek, a Palestinian journalist from Nablus, was one of the five detainees, whom he said routinely cover the weekly protest. "They (the soldiers) showed up and started beating us with batons.
"They broke one of the journalists' hands. The whole attack was unprovoked. We cover the demonstration every week and this is the first time they assaulted us," he told Ynet.
Abdel Hek noted that the journalists were detained in the village for half an hour and were then taken to the Kedumin police station. "They told us we entered a closed military zone and were not allowed to be there. It makes no sense, because we come to the same spot every week and were never warned."
The IDF said in response, "During a violent and illegal riot, several rioters, including some journalists, were detained for violating a closed military zone and rioting.
The journalists were released shortly thereafter once their identities were checked. As a rule, the IDF respects and allows free media activity even in conflict zones."