ISRAELIS BEAT AND TORTURE RETURNING JOURNALIST, MOHAMMED OMER

UPDATE from IPS NEWS… just published.

My dear friend and brother Mohammed Omer returned to his native Gaza Strip on Thursday… literally unconscious and unable to speak after being beaten and tortured by Israeli troops. He is still unable to speak so I was not able to communicate with him, I will be posting updates on his condition in future posts.

Mohammed was in Britain, where he was the recipient of a prize for journalism. You can read about it HERE in a post I wrote earlier in the week.

Mohammed’s ordeal is written about in an Action Alert issued by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a journal in which he appears regularly.

Gaza Correspondent Mohammed Omer Home Again in Rafah

At a June 16 ceremony in London, Mohammed Omer, author of the regular Washington Report feature “Gaza on the Ground,” received the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (a link to the presentation and Omer’s remarks can be found on our home page, <www.wrmea.com>). He shared the prestigious prize with independent American journalist Dahr Jamail, who was honored for his “unembedded” reports from Iraq.

Before traveling to England to receive his award, Omer spoke in Sweden, the Netherlands and Greece about the situation in Gaza. Dutch MP Hans Van Baalen, head of the parliament’s foreign relations committee, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Pilger spent weeks lobbying Israel to issue an exit permit to allow this young reporter to travel to Europe and London.

Not for the first time, however, getting home was even harder than leaving.

As soon as Omer arrived in Amman, the Dutch diplomats who were helping facilitate his travel arrangements informed him that the Israelis did not want to allow him to return. After further intervention by his Dutch sponsors, Omer finally got the green light, and on the morning of June 26 crossed from Jordan into the occupied territories via the Allenby Bridge. There he was interrogated, strip-searched and manhandled for several hours. After losing consciousness, he finally was taken to a hospital in Jericho, and from there escorted back to Gaza.

MP Van Baalen has demanded that Israel launch an investigation into Omer’s barbaric treatment.

25 Comments

  1. maryitalia said,

    June 28, 2008 at 09:36

    this is just so horrible and shocking! Please communicate my deepest sadness about this treatment when you speak with him. I’ll cross post this to several places, including PTT and Tlaxcala, asking the Spanish-speakers to translate it for Rebelion.

    What horrible news and I hope he is going to be feeling better soon.

  2. Ebtisam Ghazal said,

    June 28, 2008 at 11:17

    I am a friend of Mohammeds from Australia, how could this have happened please can you let me know how he is…

    Thankyou

    Ebtisam

  3. June 28, 2008 at 11:59

    […] Mohammed Omer, a journalist who writes about the Palestinian area’s and has his own website (Rafah’s Web) received the Martha Gellhorn Prize in London last week. It proved to be problematic for Omer to receive his prize in person, but with the assistance of Dutch diplomats he could come to the ceremony in London. On his return however he seems to be mistreated by Israëli borderpatrol who forced him to undress and sprayed a sort of pepperspray in his face. There are also reports of even more serious maltreatment. […]

  4. June 28, 2008 at 12:16

    […] BY STEVE AMSEL My dear friend and brother Mohammed Omer returned to his native Gaza Strip on Thursday… literally […]

  5. June 28, 2008 at 13:36

    […] Prize for Journalism in London. He and Dahr Jamail shared the prize. You can read more about Omer here, where you will also find a link to his acceptance speech, introduced by John […]

  6. Ben Heine said,

    June 28, 2008 at 13:54

    All my support to Mohammed Omer. This unbelievable treatment is just against human rights.

  7. Karin said,

    June 28, 2008 at 16:55

    I am horrified – I don’t know what to say!! I called him about an hour ago … he is as OK as can be under these circumstances – but very tired. I am sure physical wounds will heal faster that psychological ones …

    May those who are responsible for that go to hell!!

  8. moxee said,

    June 28, 2008 at 17:11

    israel 60 years of rape ,murder and torture of the Palestinian people, not to mention the daily theft of their land and property…Freedom for Palestine!

  9. petr vojta said,

    June 28, 2008 at 18:41

    Read this crimes by this truly NAZI regime is very painful. I say again and again that while this criminal regime of this “province” of Palestine called Israel is alive there will be no peace in Middle East and in the World.
    Zionism is truth CANCER not only of the Middle East but of whole World. I pray leaders of some arab countries curently “in bed” with Israel reconsider they stand.
    Zionists cant be trusted and they will not stop with HOLOCAUST of Palestine, they want to run all Middle East. Responsible religiones leaders in that part of the world should work on MUSLIM UNITY!!!! / put aside some differencies they have among themself/ against this terrible “sickness”called Israel….wake up people and remember profet Mohammed and UNITE, UNITE, UNITE!!!!! or You all will soon be living not in Middle East but in UNITED ARAB PALESTINE TERRITORIES!!!!!!!

  10. June 28, 2008 at 20:01

    MP Van Baalen has demanded that Israel launch an investigation into Omer’s barbaric treatment

    who is this MP?
    Some stupid man from Holland?
    Sounds to me like he is.
    Israel will do NOTHING!!!

  11. June 28, 2008 at 21:51

    This is an unbelievable string of events. Predictable but still unbelievable. I will cross post this story. It needs to be spread far and wide. The thugs responsible for this treatment must be held accountable and Israel must be made very aware that these actions will bring consequences by world wide action. Is this how Israel respects free speech as the “only democracy” in the Middle East? What a joke!
    Send my best wishes to Omer and my hope that he is OK.

  12. paul revere II said,

    June 28, 2008 at 22:09

    why are they so inhuman????

  13. Fran Jerzgarzewski said,

    June 28, 2008 at 22:45

    Cruel, greedy and heartless. I am a Catholic and I am glad the Islamic people are growing in numbers and that infuriates the Jews. I hope that there will be peace in all your nations.

  14. gmathol said,

    June 28, 2008 at 23:12

    Israhell can get away whatever they do! This is worse than the 3. Reich.

  15. Mona said,

    June 29, 2008 at 00:28

    My prayers and thoughts are with Omer for his recovery both physically and mentally from this horrible, brutal attack on him.

    It is frightening that Israeli border guards and the IOF are free to beat people in this manner quite openly without any fear of ever receiving even a reprimand from their officers or being charged with any crime.
    Israel is always claiming that Palestinian children are taught in school to hate Israelis, however nothing could be further from the truth. By the time a Palestinian child is old enough to attend school the Jewish Israel settlers and members of the Jewish Israeli Occupation Forces have taught them all there is to know about hate. Indeed the teaching of hate is carefully taught to Israeli Jews from birth. When an Israeli child is born his/her parents/teachers/rebs begin the preparations necessary for them to join the military and to make sure that they hate all Arabs enough to be able to kill them without any thought at all.
    When more than 100 Jewish youth gathered at a mall on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the “birth of Israel” for the purpose of “teaching Arabs a lesson,” they were probably pleased to find only two. Armed with knives, they stabbed, beat and stomped one until unconscious and as the other tried to get away, chased him, stabbing him numerous times IN THE BACK. What stood out for me was a comment made by one of the accused’s mother. She said when asked why her son had gone to beat Arabs or even watch them being beaten that “he is a good boy, he was with his friends he did not take part besides he joins the military in a couple of months.” Do not Israeli parents know that they raise potential killers whether they want to or not and that unless they stop the occupation there will be absolutely no morality at all (there is precious little now) left in Israel.
    It is time the UN stepped in and put an end to this problem once and for all whether Israel wants this or not. The USA is obviously not an honest broker and neither is Blair. The Palestinian People, for whom I have nothing but admiration, especially their women, have suffered more than any people should be expected to suffer and it must end.
    It is time that we turn the tables on Israel and when we are called anti-semites, instead of being ashamed of the label that they misuse, we should actually print up a badge and wear the label “ANTI-ISRAELI/ZIONIST” WITH PRIDE.

  16. miscellany101 said,

    June 29, 2008 at 02:20

    I am always amazed at the public outcry attending an Israeli atrocity, as if it’s out of character for this state. What must the body count be, or the numbers of dispossessed be before one realizes this is typical of oppression and Israel is an oppressive country. What happened to this young man isn’t news! It’s everyday life for everyone that comes into contact with Israel. Move along everyone, there’s nothing to see here.

  17. Claudia Foussard said,

    June 29, 2008 at 03:24

    Mohammed, I am so sorry…All my love…

  18. Greta said,

    June 30, 2008 at 19:57

    For those of us who know this young journalist and have been so inspired by his writings, we are appalled at what has happened to him. Where is the interntaional outcry at Israel’s torturing of a journalist? Why does the media turn away when a young and brave man is brutalized for telling the truth and getting an award. These Israeli thugs are uneducated, inarticulate and jealous. But mostly, they are remnants of every brutal regime that has popped up over the past 60 years. I’m sorry Mohammed. We will try to spread the message.

  19. Wang-NYC said,

    June 30, 2008 at 23:43

    Yes, lets spread the words…and the zionist thugs will regret for what they have done to the Palestinians. Good Christians, Jews and Muslims will never FORGET! When the USA is bankrupt, just watch your asses, zionists!

  20. Dragon said,

    July 1, 2008 at 23:09

    I read his letter to MS Rice and was very impressed at how he put his views over, and the logic used to put things into perspective

    The time has come for people to step back and look at what they still have, and how things can be so much better, then say… the War is over, the game is up, it is now time for everyone to get on with thier lives

    I hope that Mohammed recovers well from this, and that some how the voice of reason is heard

  21. July 13, 2008 at 13:00

    […] ISRAELIS BEAT AND TORTURE RETURNING JOURNALIST 13 07 2008 ISRAELIS BEAT AND TORTURE RETURNING JOURNALIST, […]

  22. July 14, 2008 at 00:07

    […] days ago, Wednesday July 2, I began pestering the AP to cover what had occurred to prize-winning Palestinian journalist, Mohammed Omer at the hands of the Shin Be…. This was four days after I had contacted Rory Suchet by phone at the international desk of CNN Los […]

  23. July 15, 2008 at 13:57

    […] 28th UPDATE from IPS NEWS… just […]

  24. manuel said,

    May 20, 2009 at 16:02

    The beating and torture of the Gaza Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer,
    further proves the INHUMAN SADISTIC and the uncontrolled TERROR,being
    daily inflicted on the Palestinian People by a Tyrant so caled state,considered
    by the IMPERIAL West,the only democracy in the Middle East.It is time we in
    the West old our politicians accountable for their support of this EVIL Regime,
    and pressure them to do{ALL} that is necessary,to force this Brutal people
    out of the The Sacred OCCUPIED Palestinian Land,into the lands of those that
    for 61 years HAVE,and continue supporting and arming this Evil Tyranny.
    It is time our Leaders start Imposing Sanctions on this regime,and continue
    applying the necessary pressure,until ALL PALESTINIAN LAND return to their
    rightful owners.As for a two state solution,I believe the time for that is over,
    since this EVIL people in 8 years of peace at Arafat time,their response to
    it was,the continued expansion of more settlements,and the usual Brutality
    and continued Oppression the Palestinians.If we don,t find ways to stop this
    people now,with their control over our Leaders, it wont be long, we all be
    suffering similar Oppression on their fight on TERROR.

  25. Tsuj Emanon said,

    April 8, 2010 at 14:22

    I know, and Believe ! as I was a P.O.W. of American military. sufered Rendition, kept incommunicado, flown from secret prison to prison, in Asia, Pacific, and U.S.. never to have Charge, Representation, hearing, trial, or sentence. however, was to receive Hard Labor. food altered by human wastes, both. lights and loud noise day and night, kept in solitary, on floor of cell without bed or bedding, nor toilet. had to relieve self in corner. cell alleged cleaned, by cup of soap, and fire hose. kept naked. beaten, and tortured. called “Questioned”. eventually, released. But, I was an American, G.I. whom reported, Rapes, Murders of U.S. forces, By U.S. forces. and a variety of War Crimes, and International Crimes. only to have orders given to Kill me, but as international fugitive, was captured by an Army of another nation, and turned over to the U.S. this is what happen to me, for trying to do the Moral, Ethical thing, the so-called “American Way” so, as it turns out, the things Americans hold dear, and presume real, are only so, in that they Believe it ! and it truly is Hollywood, Propaganda, and Most probably, Entirely FALSE, and like the last few Wars, total Lies ! sad one has to find this out, in a war, as chattel for canon fodder. no wonder most Veterans of American Military use Drugs, and Booze, to self medicate. and to numb their minds, with the knowledge that their lives have been such total Lies ! and why so many commit Suicide, as to live, to return to such an abject lie, and not say anything, has to be the depths of suffering. and Veterans are among the highest unemployed. as no one wants to hire a combat trained dangerous person. or one whom may have well been a Baby killer, Rapist, or murder of women, or War Criminal. and such as I, whom was tortured into signing documents making the entire war and service Secret Forever ! with the threat of 21 years in Military Prison, or Death. they published in my hometown paper the story of the Coward of the County, and did many things to assure I did not get a job, or have adequate income, for family, medical care, food or home. I lived under bridges, and was in a van down by the river. nightly the police came and harassed me. and the county passed laws, making my stay down by the river only days, and then I forced to move on. now, due to death threat in effect, the name given is not my real name, however, the e-mail is correct. the U.N., & I.C.C. and I.C.J. know of this, and the EU, and none offer help, sanctuary, or legal help or justice, because, its America, a Super Power, and one with such involvement in their national and international affairs.
    I have had to live as an Refugee, a fugitive in my own land. so I wish all whom fall pray to them, the best of luck, and may God watch over you, as you will need it.


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