IOF Target Journalists: 3 Journalists Wounded and 17 Media Offices Destroyed
Date: 14 May 2021
Time: 16:50 GMT
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have not spared journalists and media offices in the occupied Palestinian territory of its attacks during its intense military offensive on the Gaza Strip. As the offensive enters its 5th consecutive day, 17 media offices, including 4 news agencies, were destroyed in IOF air strikes; and 3 journalists sustained wounds as they were covering the security developments in the Gaza Strip despite them wearing clearly marked and identifiable PRESS vests.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) asserts that journalists and media institutions enjoy special protection just like civilians in times of war according to the rules of the international humanitarian law (IHL), and that their presence in dangerous areas of conflict cannot be used to justify targeting them. PCHR asserts that targeting journalists is a systematic crime that intends to silence the press and impede coverage of the Israeli occupation’s crimes against civilians in the Gaza Strip.
PCHR calls upon the international community and international press organizations to intervene immediately and force the occupation to stop its crimes against civilians including journalists.
According to PCHR investigations, at approximately 21:00 on Wednesday, 12 May 2021, Israelis warplanes launched air strikes on al-Jawhara building (11 floors), located at the intersection of one of Gaza City’s main streets. The aerial attack continued until 02:20 after midnight, as the Israeli warplanes dropped 8 missiles on the building. As a result, the building has become on the verge of collapse as it sustained severe damage. The entire building was severely damaged; it includes residential apartments, offices, and organizations, including press and media organizations: National News Agency, Palestine newspaper, Al Araby Television network ,Al Araby newspaper, al Etejah TV (Iraq), Nujaba TV, Syria TV, Al Kofiya TV, al Mamlaka TV, Al Bawaba 24, Sabq 24, al Mahaleya TV, and Wakalaet al E’lameyeen. Additionally, Al Jazeera nearby offices sustained partial damages as all windows shattered and doors broke.
On Thursday morning, 13 May 2021, Israeli warplanes launched 4 missiles at al-Waleed building, destroying it completely. The seven-floor building (17 apartments) includes offices and organizations, including Momen Quraiqe’s media production company.
At approximately 18:30 on Thursday, Israeli warplanes launched 10 missiles at the 14-story al-Shurouq building, located on Omar al-Mukhtar St in al-Rimal neighborhood. The attack destroyed the building completely. The building included offices for the following media organizations: Al-Hayat newspaper, Al Aqsa Netwrok (radio, TV, and satellite), PMP media
production company which provides content for many media organizations like RT and Dubai TV.
Yesterday, 3 journalists sustained moderate and minor wounds while covering the Israeli intense bombing on Um al-Naser Bedouin village, north of the Gaza Strip. The journalists were: Mostafa Hassouna and Mohammed al-‘Aloul, both are photographers at Anadolu News Agency, and Dawoud Abu al-Kas.
In the same context, 8 journalists were wounded while covering incidents in al-Aqsa Mosque on 10 May; most of them were shot with rubber bullets. The wounded journalists were identified as Misaa’ Abu Ghazalah, Mohammed Abu Isninah, Lewaa’ Abu Irmilah, Mohammed Jaradat, Ithar Abu Gharbiyia, Fatemah al-Bakri, Rami al-Khateeb, and Osaid ‘Amarnah.
It should be noted that for the 5th consecutive day, IOF launched wide-scale airstrikes and intense artillery shells across the Gaza Strip. As a result, 122 Palestinians, including 31 children and 20 women, were killed and 542 others, including 158 children and 121 women. Also, those airstrikes destroyed dozens of residential and commercial buildings, including houses, headquarters of Palestinian organizations, headquarters of Ministry of Interior, economic and commercial institutions, and military sites belonging to Palestinian armed groups.
PCHR strongly condemns crimes committed by IOF against journalists and media professionals, who enjoy special protection in time of war under the international humanitarian law; and
· Asserts that IOF’s practices are part of the systematic violations committed against Palestinian civilians, and prove IOF’s disrespect for international humanitarian law, including the Protocol I additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
· Reiterates its call for the international community and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, relative to the protection of civilians in time of war, to fulfill their obligations under the convention and to intervene effectively to stop Israel’s grave violations of the Convention’s rules.
· Calls upon all international press institutes to continue covering what journalists are going through in the oPt and exert all efforts at the international level to push the Israeli government to stop IOF’s attacks on Journalists and press organizations.
· Calls upon Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to intervene immediately to stop IOF’s attacks against Palestinian journalists and their organizations.