IDF detains three BBC journalists in Nablus

From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)

Yoav Stern | Haaretz | 12 August 2004

Israel Defense Forces troops in the West Bank city of Nablus detained three British Broadcasting Corporation journalists and a Palestinian doctor at gunpoint for three hours Thursday before letting them go, BBC officials and the doctor said. The journalists, a television crew from the BBC, were accompanying the doctor, Ghassan Hamdan, as he visited an 80-year-old woman living in an apartment that had been commandeered by the army. IDF spokeswoman Maj. Sharon Feingold said the military is investigating. "We regret the incident involving the BBC crew," she said. IDF troops routinely take over Palestinian homes for a number of days to use as observation posts. The journalists were not aware that troops were in the apartment until they entered, said Nick Springate, the BBC's acting bureau chief in Jerusalem. Hamdan said the soldiers verbally abused the journalists, jabbed them with their rifles and threatened them when they asked to leave. Springate said the soldiers also confiscated notebooks and tapes from the reporters. "The BBC condemns the detention of journalists," Springate said, adding that the BBC planned to lodge a complaint with the army. Military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the crew happened upon an undercover IDF operation, and soldiers were concerned for their safety. The crew and the soldiers left together when the danger passed, they said. British journalist denied entry to Israel on grounds that she is 'not objective' A British journalist has been detained since Wednesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport after security forces denied her entry into the country on the grounds that she is a left-wing activist who could not be objective in her portrayal of local events and who could unknowingly assist violent organizations. The journalist, 26-year-old Eva Jasiewicd, was interrogated for seven hours Wednesday by Defense Ministry officials. The questioning resulted in a ministry decision to deport her from Israel, possibly as soon as Friday morning. Jasiewicd told her interrogators that she had arrived in Israel to work for a British magazine associated with the left-wing, as well as for the Labour Party's internal newspaper. She also said that she is a graduate of the University of London, with degrees in both Anthropology and journalism. "She was not coming as a journalist, she was coming for political activism. That in itself would not prevent her entry into Israel but the fact that she entered in the past under aliases is enough, it's a violation in any country," said government spokesman Danny Seaman. Jasiewicz's lawyer Yael Barda said her client visited Israel under a different name in the past but had changed her name legally in order to avoid attempts by Israeli officials to bar her from entering the country. "It wasn't an alias. She legally changed her name and then ... she decided (this time) she didn't want to hide her identity so she changed her name back," Barda said. She added the real reason authorities were trying to bar Jasiewicz's entry into the country was because "she posed a media threat." Barda, filed an urgent petition with the Tel Aviv District Court to try and allow her client to stay in the country. Barda said her client told authorities that she had connections to the International Solidarity Movement and was an advocacy journalist. "She does say 'I am a journalist with an agenda. I write about human writes and activism'," Barda said. "My client believes that the freedom of the press is critical in these kinds of conflicts," Barda said.