On Friday, September 16th, 2023, video footage went viral on social media, brazenly exposing 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 there when he was forced to leave the place to a hospital after an Israeli sniper aimed at his right hand.
Fellows of the targeted photojournalist filmed him groaning at the time an Israeli stun grenade suddenly and harshly struck his right hand. His palm was bleeding, while his fingers were often swollen and stiff.
He was given first aid treatment immediately on the field and then moved to a surgical operation as recommended by doctors.
Speaking to Masdr News at the hospital, Abu Amra asserted that he is still “losing his right-hand sensation due to the severe injury” despite undergoing surgery.
“Every hour passes, the pain deeply worsens,” added the wounded journalist.
Doctors direly urged that Abu Amira has to undergo another subtle operation since his wound had dreadfully developed frailty in the right hand’s bones and a severe cut to the tendons.
Abu Amira raised a sharp demand to the competent authorities to expedite his abroad-travel issues, stressing his right to receive a fair remedy, which he hadn’t previously been given when his first injury was exacerbated due to an Israeli onslaught.
“Israeli occupation is still reluctant to allow me to go abroad,” he desperately added.
On this behalf, Abu Amira called on international institutions as well as human rights organizations to act urgently before his hand’s conditions aggravate.
Abu Amira’s deliberate attack has triggered a wide condemnation of Palestinian factions, Human rights organizations, and Journalism bodies.
The Palestinian Media Association voiced strong condemnation of Israeli occupation forces’ deliberate target of Palestinian journalists during their coverage of peaceful protests at the Gaza fence.
The Association urged world organizations dedicated to journalism to break their silence and adopt more assertive measures to hold the occupation accountable, calling to remove Israeli media from global press platforms.
Palestinian Journalists’ Union denounced Israel’s deliberate and ongoing attack on journalists, holding the Israeli occupation responsible for its soldiers’ atrocities, citing Shireen Abu Akleh’s tragic death in May 2022.
Intimidating Palestinian Journalists
The Israeli occupation has a long record of assaulting Palestinian journalists to silence their voices and blur their cameras while the international community turns a deaf ear to numerous human rights violations committed by the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Authority at equal footing.
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. There was no armed Palestinian fighter in her vicinity as confirmed by witnesses and verified by videos taken on the scene.
Since the 2023 outset, Israeli occupation carried out over 300 attacks on Palestinian journalists.
‘Israel’ is not alone complicit in the crimes against freedom of expression. The Palestinian Authority has its share of attacks.
Article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law establishes that “every person shall have the right to express his opinion and to circulate it orally, in writing or any form.” Yet, the situation on the ground has demonstrated that the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly taken measures to suppress freedom of the press, limiting activists’ pace to utter even wards opposite of PA’s policies.
The case of Nizar Banat, a Palestinian activist and an outspoken critic of the PA, cannot go unnoticed. He was detained several times and brutally beaten to death en route to the hospital by the PA’s security forces.
Since the death of activist Nizar Banat in PA custody, Palestinian journalists in the occupied West Bank have experienced a surge of harassment, arrests, apprehension, and violence from the Palestinian Authority security forces.