On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian Journalist, September 26th, 2023, Media groups warn that international salience on Israeli crimes against freedom of expression has resulted in a perceptible spike in numbers of Palestinian journalists being harassed, assaulted, and detained by the Israeli occupation.
For decades, the Israeli occupation has been trying to falsify the Palestinian narratives and spread ones that are fabricated and evident less, aiming at journalists’ cameras and bodies.
In 1996, the International Federation of Journalists decided to pay tribute to this day following the Tunnel Uprising when Palestinians protested Israel’s inauguration of a tunnel beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, and many Palestinians were killed, including journalists.
However, the same violations continue by the same perpetrators in several areas of occupied Palestine.
In May 2022, Palestinian veteran Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was wearing a press vest and helmet when she was mercilessly shot in the face and killed by Israeli snipers in Jenin.
On Friday, September 16th, 2023, a video footage brazenly exposed Israel’s taking of Palestinian Journalists a crosshair of their target in peaceful protests at Kahn Younis fence, where Palestinians went out to demand an end to the 17-year-long blockade on the strip.
Palestinian photojournalist Ashraf Abu Amra was on his duty covering the events when an Israeli stun grenade suddenly and harshly struck his right hand, pushing him to undergo surgery until now.
Just two days earlier, Israeli occupation forces directly targeted Palestinian journalists with tear gas canisters and gas bombs despite clearly wearing press vests while covering peaceful protests against Israeli assaults on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque at Gaza fence, Jabaliya area, on September 17th, 2023.
On the same day, other two Palestinian journalists were shot in the leg after being hit with tear gas canisters fired by Israeli occupation forces at peaceful Palestinian demonstrators.
Since the 2023 outset, Israeli occupation carried out over 300 attacks, including the killing and arrest, of Palestinian journalists.
Israeli occupation onslaught against Palestinian journalists is not only confined to the ground, but it has also stalked after them even on social media. The Israeli occupation has been complicit in practising digital apartheid on Palestinian Journalists, Jerusalemites in particular, pushing forward on more suppressive Meta policies.
Earlier this month, Facebook’s mother company, Meta, censored and blocked the Facebook page of Palestinian Journalist Tamer Al-Mishal after he published an episode of his program “Tip of Iceberg”, through which he showed Meta’s complicity with the Israeli online war against Palestinians. Following this episode, Facebook also blocked the Al-Jazeera page.
In April 2022, the page of the Palestinian news network “Al-Qastal” and the pages of its journalists were deleted without prior notice by the Meta administration. Al-Qastal reported that this deletion came after its extensive covering of Israel’s assaults on Al-Aqsa Mosque, revealing that it was carried out at the Israeli occupation request in a bid to veil its crimes against the Palestinians.
Sada Social Center said it documented over 541 violations against Palestinian digital content since the start of 2023, adding that the bulk of these violations targeted Palestinian journalists in particular.
Demands for Protecting Palestinian Journalists
Marking the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Journalists, Palestinian factions, including the Hamas movement, affirm that the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian journalists, media professionals, and their institutions reveal the extent of fear that grips the leaders of Netanyahu’s fascist government regarding the journalists’ mission and the role of the national resistance media.
In a press statement, the movement underscored that Israel’s ongoing atrocities will not thrive in silencing and suppressing the voices of those who passionately advocate for Palestinian rights and narratives filled with truth and credibility.
The Committee for Supporting Journalists calls for protecting journalists who are subjected to violations and attacks by Israeli soldiers, as well as for monitoring the International Criminal Court’s file on Israeli violations.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms MADA expressed deep concern about the escalating violations against the freedom of expression in the Gaza Strip and Israel’s crackdown on journalists.
Commenting on targeting and injuring three journalists with gas canisters while covering a peaceful demonstration at the Gaza fence, MADA confirmed that “This comes in the context of the systematic policy pursued against freedom of media and local and foreign journalistic teams operating in Palestinian territories.”
The rights of journalists are enshrined in several international human rights agreements, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (articles 15-19), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and regional human rights conventions, e.g. the American Convention on Human Rights.
Despite that, the Israeli occupation continues to violate all these universal laws and agreements.