Over the weekend, a Palestinian photojournalist was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet, eventually losing sight in it completely. This gave way to a viral support campaign, with hundreds of people taking photos with one of their eyes covered – a powerful depiction of Israeli forces’ persistent attacks on journalists.
Muath Amarneh was working for a local news agency, covering a protest by Palestinians over the Israeli confiscation of land in noeth-western Hebron, when he was shot in his left eye, later moving to a hospital in Hebron for treatment.
Many Palestinian news organisations and activists have since then taken to social media with their photos, including Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
#MuathAmarneh, the Palestinian photojournalist was shot in the eye by Israeli occupation soldiers in Hebron Al-Khalil on November 15. We will continue to bear witness. In solidarity & affection. #MuathEye. #عين_معاذ. pic.twitter.com/rv8qxMGoh8— Hanan Ashrawi (@DrHananAshrawi) November 17, 2019
Aside from the campaign, The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate gave a statement that it will take legal action against the Israeli army.
The statement also mentions the larger context of deliberate attacks on journalists, which has been happening for years, and explains that this particular incident is most likely deliberate because journalists covering the protests were wearing vests and thus were easily identifiable.
There were also protests in Palestine, in both Gaza and the West Bank, standing in solidarity with Amarneh, carrying placards that read: "The eyes of truth will never be blinded.”
Photo courtesy of Reuters.
This, however, is far from the first incident of its kind. The World Press Freedom Index previously ranked Palestine 134th out of 180 in 2018, noting the prevalent lack of press freedom – and injustices against journalists – especially in the occupied territories.