Israeli and Palestinian press associations reached agreement last week to establish a hotline between their organisations to provide assistance for journalists who are obstructed in course of their work.
The agreement was announced at the general meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Sarajevo on 26 April and was welcomed by EFJ president Mogens B. Bjerregård on behalf of delegates from some 100 associations and federation across Europe.
The Israeli delegation included, Shaike Komornik on behalf of the Israeli Federation of Journalists and Liat Collins on behalf of the Jerusalem Association of Journalists.
The head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), Nasser Abubaker, attended the EFJ meeting but his colleague, Omar Nazzal, a member of the PJS General Secretariat in the West Bank, was arrested by Israeli forces on the al-Karameh crossing between Palestine and Jordan on Saturday, 23 April. His arrested was condemned by both the EFJ and the Israeli delegation to meeting, as well as press freedom groups.
Despite Nazzal’s absence the agreement was reached after intensive discussions facilitated by the German delegation in Sarajevo.
Under the agreement, journalists who encounter obstruction or security issues, when crossing from an area controlled by one side to another for example, can call their professional association who will work with their Israeli or Palestinian counterpart to try to find a solution.
The hotline is the brainchild of Haim Shibi from the Jerusalem Association of Journalists who first proposed the collaboration. Both sides hope that the agreement will benefit Israeli and Palestinian journalists.