Agricultural land in Jordan Valley

Dutch journalist held by settlers

Andrei Kluwer claims he was assaulted, held against will when attempting to document Palestinians' working conditions in settlements around Jordan Valley. Regional council head says reporter paid boy to tell lies on camera

Planned provocation or another case of violence in the West Bank? A Dutch TV reporter on Sunday told Ynet that he was attacked and detained for two hours by settlers who tried to prevent him from documenting the working conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank settlement of Gilgal, near the Jordan valley.


The regional council rejected the reporter's claims and said, "The worker admitted that the reporter paid him money to talk about his harsh conditions on camera."


Andrei Kluwer was sent on a documentary project by the Dutch Labor Association, which sponsored his trip. As part of the project, Kluwer joined a 15-year-old Palestinian boy who is employed at the settlement of Gilgal, in order to document his daily life. At around 8 am the journalist arrived at the entrance to the settlement in a Palestinian cab.


"The driver refused to enter and said it was dangerous. He dropped me on the main road," Kluwer recalled. "I walked with the boy toward the work site. On our way there, a settler approached us and claimed that the area was his private property. He blocked the road and shoved me, while trying to snatch my camera. I resisted and then he called security."


Kluwer said he was escorted out of the settlement by the security guards, who followed him all the way back to the cab, where he left his personal belonging and press badge.


"They demanded I surrender my bag so they can search it, but I refused. When they came closer, the cab driver fled, and from that moment they held me on the side of the road and wouldn't let me go for almost two hours, while screaming at me and threatening to call the police and the military. It was very unpleasant."


Once the police unit arrived at the scene, the security guards let Kluwer go. "It took them a while to arrive. They talked to the people and then brought me to the taxi driver who was waiting at the intersection."


'Attempt to harm our image'

Aravot HaYarden Regional Council fiercely rejected Kluwer's claims, saying they were a complete fabrication meant to harm the farmers and their image.


"The journalist was escorted by a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, who looked like he was 10. He told the farmers that he is staying in a hotel in Ramallah and came to shoot a documentary film," said Regional Council head David Alhaini.


"The boy admitted to the farmers that he was paid by the journalist to say he worked hard in front of the camera. This is all meant to harm the image of the Jordan Valley townships," he added.


The police confirmed that the farmers called the police unit to the scene and that Kluwer was released as the settlers could not prove that the Dutch journalist had trespassed. "It is a new low for a journalist to build a false reality in order to get a story. We will go to the Government Press Office and demand that he be stripped of his press badge. We will also file an official complaint with the Dutch Embassy," Alhaini said.


Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 03.28.10, 16:29
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