A foreign television crew today filmed what apparently were two plainclothes Israeli policemen posing as journalists in Jerusalem.
The film reinforced concern among correspondents that Israeli security forces are disguising themselves as journalists to help clamp down on the 15-month Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories.
The Visnews international television news agency filmed two men in civilian clothes in a rental car with handwritten “Press” signs in its windows in Arab East Jerusalem. The film was shown on Britain’s Sky television channel.
The men, after being filmed, removed the press signs and were later shown arresting Palestinians nearby. Jerusalem police said they were checking the report.
Commenting on the film, Robert Slater, chairman of the Foreign Press Assn. in Israel, said: “The FPA is seriously concerned about events of this kind and will certainly be taking it up with the proper authorities.
“When such events happened in the past, we made it clear that we consider this kind of behavior extremely dangerous for the press. The impersonation of journalists puts us all in danger, and we deplore it.”
When first filmed, one of the men left the car to question the Visnews crew.
“Who do you work for? Do you work for Israel Television?” a Visnews crew member said the agent asked. “He was satisfied by my answer and went back,” the crew member said.
The crew filmed the man as he returned to his car, revealing a pair of handcuffs and a pistol on his hip.