Journalists Ahmad Abu Hussein (L) and Yassir Murtaja (R)

Report: Two Palestinian journalists killed, 46 injured during the past six months 

  PNN/ Ramallah/

The Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms “MADA” has issued a special report on the Israeli attacks targeting female/male journalists during their coverage of the peaceful return marches which have erupted since eight months ago. It should be noted that these marches mostly take place in five key areas near the separating fence in Gaza Strip, to protest against the continuing siege over the years against Gaza Strip.

The report documents the broad and grave Israeli attacks witnessed during the peaceful marches in the first six months (Between March 30, 2018 and September 30, 2018), committed against media freedoms. These attacks reflect the adoption of the Israeli occupation of an official policy based on excluding and keeping away the media and journalists from the events and preventing them from transmitting the accurate picture in various ways. Such ways have even included murder, as the report indicates, demonstrating the statement of the Israeli Army Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, commenting on the killing of the journalist, Yassir Murtaja, by the Israeli Army, which reflect the explicit call to target journalists with murder. As Lieberman, in this regard, has stated to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, on 8 April 2018 “I do not know who he is (referring to the journalist, Murtaja), whether he was a photographer or not. Whoever turns on a drone (a small aircraft for aerial photography) above the Israeli army forces should know that he is risking his life” even though Murtaja was 300 meters away from the separating fence where the soldiers were deployed.

During the six months covered by the report, the killing of two journalists, Yassir Murtaja and Ahmad Abu Hussein, by explosive bullets fired by the occupation soldiers while they were covering the events of the return marches during April is documented in the report. This is in addition to the injury of 46 female/male journalists by live and explosive bullets resulting in serious injuries, and keeping away the journalists, for reasonable periods, from covering the events or fulfilling their journalistic activities, even though all of them were wearing the Press signs, and most of them where injured while standing at long-distance, between 300-350 meters away from the separating fence.

In addition to these injuries by live bullets, the report also documents the injuries of a total of 25 female/male journalists by gas bombs fired directly at their bodies resulting in serious injuries. The report considered this an additional evidence to the deliberate targeting of female/male journalists by the occupation army, pointing out an extended history of the repression and targeting of media freedoms in Palestine, the most serious of which is the killing of 17 journalists and Media workers in less than two months during the war launched on Gaza Strip in 2014, by the Israeli Occupation Army.

MADA renewed its call of forming an independent commission to investigate the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the media freedoms in Palestine, particularly the murders of the journalists Yasser Murtaja and Ahmad Abu Hussein, and all other crimes of occupation against journalists. The report also considers that the widespread Israeli crimes against journalists and the media, and their continuous escalation in quantity and quality, is a direct result of the impunity of soldiers and officers of the Israeli occupation army for the crime which have been committed during the past years. This requires the various international and official agencies to pursue the perpetrators of all these crimes and bring them to justice and put an end to acts of impunity, which is a direct catalyst for the continuation and escalation of the Israeli occupation army attacks and its crimes against journalists and the media in Palestine.