A Palestinian freelance journalist named Mirvat al-Azzeh has been arrested in Israel on charges of inciting terror and identifying with a terrorist organization. The arrest came after she shared four Facebook posts that allegedly glorified the recent Hamas attack on Israel. Although the exact content of the posts has not been disclosed, Israeli police described them as “inciting and glorifying the horrible acts committed against civilians.”
NBC, the company that employed al-Azzeh as a freelance producer, has cut ties with her since the arrest. They claim to have been unaware of her personal social media activity that led to the investigation. NBC emphasized that the material under investigation is unrelated to any services she provided to the news outlet.
Al-Azzeh, who cooperated fully with Israeli authorities, allegedly arrived ready for arrest and even had phone numbers written on her leg. She was granted permission to be interrogated last week and admitted to the charges against her.
The journalist’s attorney described her as an ordinary woman who works as a journalist, confirming that she admitted to all the offenses and fully cooperated during the investigation. She did not attempt to deny or hide her actions.
Following her arrest, al-Azzeh was held until a hearing, during which her detention was extended for another four days. The potential duration of her jail time is unknown at this time.
Al-Azzeh has been a freelance journalist since September 2018. Her recent work focused on covering the Israel-Hamas war for NBC News. It remains uncertain if NBC intends to retain her once she is released from custody.
This arrest comes in the wake of other mainstream media outlets facing criticism for employing journalists who have expressed antisemitic sentiments in the past. The New York Times, for example, faced backlash for rehiring a filmmaker who had previously praised Adolf Hitler on social media.
As tensions continue to rise in the region, incidents involving journalists and their affiliations are under scrutiny by both the public and authorities.