By: Joe Strupp
The Boston Globe is demanding that leaders within the Israeli Defense Forces explain why Globe reporter Anthony Shadid was shot last week near Yasir Arafat’s compound in Ramallah on the West Bank, despite the fact that he was obviously identified as a member of the press.
“We are asking for an accounting about what happened,” Globe Editor Marty Baron told E&P on Thursday just hours after returning to Boston from Israel, where he spent several days with Shadid and other Globe staff in the region. “They [Israel] were in complete control of the area and had been for some time,” Baron said. “There is a high probability that he was shot by an Israeli soldier.”
Baron said the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was also being asked to help. “Once we know what the facts are, we would decide what to make of them,” Baron said.
Shadid, who is normally based in the Globe‘s Washington, D.C., bureau, had been in the Middle East for about a week, filling in for Globe Israel bureau chief Charles Radin while Radin covered the Arab Summit. Shadid was walking with a Globe assistant from Arafat’s compound to the Royal Court Suite Hotel at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday when he was shot in the shoulder, Baron said, adding that the bullet came within a centimeter of Shadid’s spinal cord.
Both men had bullet-proof vests with “TV” printed on them in large letters, the international symbol for press in the area, Baron revealed. Shadid did not see who shot him in the shoulder, but believed it had to be an Israeli soldier because those were the only military personnel he saw, according to Baron.
After the shooting, Shadid was helped by an Israeli medic and eventually transported to a hospital in Jerusalem, where Baron visited him early Monday morning. “He was clearly tired, but he was getting better everyday,” said Baron.
Baron expected Shadid to return to his Maryland home on Friday and said he would be given time off to fully recover while another reporter was being sent to temporarily replace him. He added that the newspaper would not alter its Middle East coverage or seek any additional safety or security precautions in light of the incident. “They were taking all of the precautions they were supposed to,” he said.
As for his own decision to travel overseas, Baron eschewed any attention on himself. “I don’t think it’s a big deal that I went,” he said. “It was just a feeling that it was the right thing to do.”