VIDEO - Haaretz daily reported Chaim Levinson, who covers settler activity, was assaulted by IDF soldiers Wednesday just outside the West Bank city of Jericho.
Levinson was covering the rightist march on the city and clashed with IDF soldiers, who tried to stop him from covering the event and grabbed his cell phone. The event was caught on tape by Channel 10 reporters.
According to Levinson, the incident took place after several settlers were able to make their way to a synagogue just north of Jericho. Levinson, along with the photographer Emil Salman and Channel 10 reporter Roee Sharon, spotted IDF reservists trying to detain several settlers.
The settlers resisted arrest, which prompted the three to begin filming the incident. The soldiers, they claimed, tried to force them to stop.
Salman told Ynet that the soldiers did not allow them to photograph the settlers being transferred into vehicles, even from a far, adding that when he climbed up a nearby hill, he was followed by a soldier who shoved him to the ground.
Levinson, he continued, tried to break up the altercation and took pictures of one of the officers with his camera phone. The latter reportedly grabbed the phone and tried to erase the photos, while Levinson tried to grab it back.
At this point, Salman said the soldiers knocked Levinson to the ground and began kicking him. Police forces arrived at the scene and broke up the fight. They later returned the phone to Levinson, sans the photos.
Salman noted that such clashes with IDF soldiers are common, saying that they often try to stop photographers from doing their job.
The IDF Spokesman's Unit issued the following response: "According to the orders of GCO Central Command, journalists can cover stories freely within its expanse, as long as they refrain from interfering in the troops' operations. It seems that in this case, the soldiers did not follow directives.
"Central Command Chief Major-General Avi Mizrahi has ordered an inquiry into the incident."