Journalist Omar Nazzal(55), imprisoned for ten months without charges by the Israeli occupation, was released on February 20th. This was the fourth time that Nazzal has been imprisoned by Israel, the first time being when he was just 16.
Nazzal, a member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, was seized on April 23rd 2016, as he tried to cross to Jordan from the occupied West Bank, on his way to take part in a conference by the European Federation of Journalists in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
After his release Omar Nazzal spoke in behalf of political prisoners overall and journalists especially, 23 of which remain imprisoned by the Israeli occupation. Four of them are imprisoned without charge and another four are ill.
Nazzal especially brought out the case of Mohammed al-Qeeq, who is on a hunger-strike for a second time in less than a year to re-secure his freedom. On Tuesday al-Qeeq was moved to the Ramle prison clinic. He has been on hunger-strike for 18 days.
Israel has refused to give any reason for Omar Nazzal’s imprisonment, but has spread a claim (denied by the journalist) that Nazzal is a member of the left-wing PFLP movement, which ‘Western’ supporters of Israeli occupation have listed as ‘a terrorist group’ for its role in the armed resistance against the occupation.
This is to take eyes of the issue at hand – Israel’s attack on free press and free speech in the occupied Palestinian territories. An issue which ‘Western’ journalists operating under the aegis of Israeli occupation rarely touch, and even if they do, then with little criticism.
Those who scream ‘Je Suis Charlie Hebdo’ and otherwise vocally support the necessity of free speech and free press, of allowing all points of view a hearing in public, fall silent when it comes to occupied Palestine – a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of human rights, where the rights considered essential elsewhere are allowed to silently disappear under Israel’s military boot and journalists dragged into Israeli prisons for doing their job.