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Calls for UN to investigate Israel’s killing of Palestinian journalists 

December 9, 2020 at 4:12 pm

Palestinian journalists light candles to commemorate Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on 7 April 2018 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

Complaints submitted to the United Nations (UN) accuse Israel of intentionally targeting journalists in Palestine and failing to thoroughly investigate its killings of media workers.

The complaints, submitted by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) ask the special rapporteurs to secure justice and accountability for the killings and harm that has been inflicted on journalists.

This includes the 2018 killings of Ahmed Abu Hussein, Yaser Murtaja and the maiming of Muath Amarneh in 2019 and Nedal Eshtayeh in 2015, both photographers were shot by snipers in the eye.

They also urge Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, and Agnès Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to investigate endemic, systematic discrimination that curtails the work of Palestinian journalists.

“For years the world has documented and deplored the killing and maiming of Palestinian journalists by Israeli forces and the daily discrimination they face – denied rights, denied accreditation, denied freedom of movement and, as a result of a blanket impunity, denied justice,” said IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger.

“Words can no longer be enough. The UN must take action and show it will not stand idly by and allow impunity and injustice to continue unchallenged.”

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The IFJ and PJS have long documented violations of journalists’ rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Noting that such attacks have been increasing, they called for all international bodies to pressure Israel and occupation forces to stop their repeated violations against Palestinian journalists.

In 2019 the PJS documented 760 rights violations against journalists, including more than 200 cases of physical assaults, including dozens of injuries caused by rubber-coated steel bullets, and at least ten serious injuries by live ammunition.

Nasser Abubaker, PJS president, added: “We live daily with the systematic targeting, the impunity, watching soldiers kill our colleagues, blind those who document the occupation and the protests against it. No-one ever faces justice for their crimes against our colleagues. For them and the families they leave behind we believe these complaints are a fitting first step towards achieving justice for them and all Palestinian journalists.”