Israel's crackdown on the Palestinian press continued on Saturday as police detained a Palestinian journalist on his way to an international conference in Sarajevo.
Omar Nazzal, an independent reporter from Ramallah, was arrested Saturday while crossing the border to Jordan, presumably on his way to the airport in Amman, according to 972 Magazine, a left-wing Israeli news site. Palestinians are forbidden from flying out of Tel Aviv.
#WATCH| How Israeli Forces suppressed a protest stand in Ramallah in solidarity with Journalist Prisoner Omar Nazzal pic.twitter.com/XL8KQWXDuZ— Razan-Palestine (@Razan_Tobasi) April 26, 2016
A spokesman for the Israeli secret services told 972 Magazine that Nazzal, 53, was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a secular faction of the PLO that Israel considers a terror group.
Mahmoud Hassan, the lawyer representing Nazzal, said Nazzal had to interact with militants in order to do his job as a reporter. "It's only because he's Palestinian that he's being indicted," Hassan told the outlet.
This is barely being reported on in Israel: Israel arrests Palestinian journalist en route to int'l conference https://t.co/KLaUvKVZ4w— Mairav Zonszein (@MairavZ) April 26, 2016
Israel has been cracking down on journalists recently. In March, it raided Falastin al-Yom (Palestine Today), a radio station associated with the religious militant group Islamic Jihad, and arrested some of its staff. Nazzal had worked at the station but quit before the raid occurred, the Associated Press reported.
In November, as the latest wave of violence was heating up, Israel closed several Palestinian news agencies, including a radio station in Hebron, for allegedly inciting Palestinians to attack Israelis.