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Monday, July 7, 2008

ACTION ALERT: WRMEA Update on Mohammed Omer Petition to Condaleeza Rice

Washington Report

July 7, 2008

Washington Report Correspondent Mohammed Omer Released From Hospital Following Detention by Israeli Soldiers at Allenby Bridge Crossing

More than 2,300 people have signed a petition drafted by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs calling for the Israeli government to protect journalists and end its harassment of journalists, academics and other travelers to and from the occupied Palestinian territories.

We are requesting a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the U.S. State Department at which we plan to submit, along with our petition, Omer’s medical report detailing his injuries. We will call for an investigation of Omer’s treatment at the Allenby border crossing, as well as assurances from Israel that it will not target journalists, especially Omer, working in the occupied territories.

Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, Gaza correspondent for the Washington Report, Inter Press Service News Agency contributor, and co-recipient of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, was hospitalized with cracked ribs and other injuries inflicted by Israeli soldiers June 26 at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan into the occupied West Bank.

Omer was returning home to Gaza after a European speaking tour and the June 16 London ceremony at which he accepted the prestigious Gellhorn Prize.

Omer was detained, questioned by a Shin Bet agent, strip searched at gunpoint, assaulted and dragged by the heels to an ambulance after he began vomiting and going in and out of consciousness. When he finally came to, he was in a Palestinian hospital in Jericho, where he was treated and allowed to return home in the custody of the Dutch diplomats. See the following article by John Pilger in the July 2 Guardian:

Unable to eat and still in pain, Omer was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Gaza on June 28, re-examined, treated, and fed on an intravenous drip. He was released over the past weekend, but is far from recovered.

In his article in the August 2008 Washinxzgton Report, “A Voice for the Voiceless,” Omer defines his life’s mission as “to get the truth out,” and describes himself as “not pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli, but simply…an eyewitness on the ground, reporting what happens and why.” Palestinian journalists risk their lives on a daily basis to tell the world what is happening in their homeland.

Please visit the Washington Report website,, to sign the petition condemning Israel’s attacks on journalists, both Palestinian and international. We urge you to forward this petition to everyone you know. Add your voice to Mohammed Omer’s on behalf of voiceless Gazans and Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation—an occupation made possible by American tax dollars.

Source: email alert

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