Human rights organisations have today demanded protection for journalists from “Israeli violations” in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The call came as part of events to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian Journalist.
Rawhi Fattouh, head of the Palestinian National Council, said in a press statement, that “journalists in the homeland and in the diaspora have sacrificed dozens of martyrs, wounded and prisoners in their path of giving for the sake of honest words and siding with the just cause of their people.”
He denounced “the occupation forces’ targeting of media institutions, the assassination or injury of dozens of journalists with intent to kill, and their arrest, the last of whom is the truthful martyr [Al-Jazeera correspondent who was killed last May], Shireen Abu Akleh.”
“We believe in the power of word, image and freedom of expression, and we also believe in the power of mass struggle and popular resistance in the face of the racist occupier.”
For its part, Hamas called for “strengthening solidarity with Palestinian journalists and media institutions and providing them with protection and support.”
Izzat Al-Rishq, head of the movement’s media office, said: “Israel disregards international laws that protect journalists, and commits crimes against humanity, which will not succeed in concealing the truth and gagging.”
He added, “The persecution, harassment and terrorism practiced against Palestinian media institutions, their closure, destruction and the repeated attempts to combat Palestinian content on social media, are a biased policy adopted by the occupation that serves its racist agenda and contributes to misleading the global public opinion.”
Al-Rishq called “to unify media efforts among all Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international press and media institutions to serve the Palestinian cause.”
The Information Office in the Gaza Strip said that Israel is committing various forms of violations against Palestinian journalists.
“These violations range from the direct targeting or arrest to prevention of coverage, and ban on travel and movement, in addition to restrictive measures and storming the homes of journalists, especially in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.”
It noted that more than ten media offices were damaged in August when the Israeli occupation army “targeted a tower in the Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City, with four missiles.”
The office recorded more than 173 cases of violations by social networking sites and the Israeli occupation in the context of combating Palestinian content.
It called on “human rights organisations and those that defend media freedoms to expose the systematic violations Israel commits against Palestinian journalists, and to provide them with full protection.”
In turn, the Beirut-based Arab Journalists Support Committee called on the International Criminal Court to hold the occupation accountable for its crimes against Palestinian journalists.
In its statement, the committee said that the Israeli occupation has committed 513 violations against Palestinian journalists since the start of the year, including the killing of Abu Akleh and journalist Ghufran Warasna in the West Bank.
It added that “160 journalists have been injured by live, rubber and sponge bullets, poisonous gas bombs, pepper spray and sound bombs, since the beginning of this year.”
According to the statement, the committee observed about “61 cases of arrest, detention, summons, bans from Al-Aqsa Mosque, and house arrest against journalists, as well as 30 cases of extension and postponement of arrest and issuing new sentences for detained journalists.”
The committee called for “launching a local, Arab and international campaign to expose the occupation’s practices against journalists, and to intensify monitoring and documentation of crimes in order to prepare a complete case to file complaints before international courts in order to punish those responsible.”