In a recent turn of events, a Palestinian freelancer associated with NBC, Mirvat al-Azzeh, has been arrested in Israel on charges of inciting terror and affiliating with a terrorist organization. The arrest follows a series of Facebook posts made by al-Azzeh regarding Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the tragic death of over 1,200 people. While the specific content of these posts remains undisclosed, the police have described them as glorifying violent acts against civilians.
Al-Azzeh, a journalist residing in East Jerusalem, was reportedly taken into custody on Thursday. According to The Jerusalem Post, she cooperated fully with Israeli police during the investigation. The police stated at a hearing in the Jerusalem Magistrate Court that al-Azzeh “arrived ready for arrest,” having left her cell phone behind but with phone numbers written on her leg.
During the court proceedings, the police described al-Azzeh’s Facebook posts as “inciting and glorying the horrible acts committed against civilians.” The hearing resulted in an extension of her detention for an additional four days.
It is unclear at this point how much jail time al-Azzeh could be facing, and NBC has not yet issued a statement regarding her arrest.
Al-Azzeh, who goes by Marvat Azzeh on NBC News, has been a freelance journalist since September 2018. Her recent contributions to NBC News have focused on the Israel-Hamas conflict, with her latest byline on November 12 reporting on the deteriorating conditions at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where newborns were reportedly dying due to resource shortages.
This arrest raises questions about al-Azzeh’s future employment with NBC, especially in light of recent controversies surrounding other media outlets collaborating with journalists expressing anti-Semitic sentiments. The New York Times, for instance, recently faced criticism for rehiring a filmmaker with a history of praising Hitler to cover the Israeli-Palestinian war.
In addition to al-Azzeh’s arrest, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly criticized mainstream Western media outlets, including Reuters, The Associated Press, CNN, and The New York Times, for collaborating with photojournalists embedded with Hamas during the October 7 incident. CNN even severed ties with a freelancer photographed receiving a kiss from a Hamas leader.
As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how NBC will respond to al-Azzeh’s arrest and whether her association with the network will continue. The incident adds to the ongoing debate about media ethics and the challenges faced by journalists covering conflicts in the region.