Calls for ICC to investigate Israel for killing journalists

Issue 
Israel injured dozens of Palestinian journalists covering the Great March of Return protests in Gaza. Photo: Atia Darwish/APA.

Reporters Without Borders has formally requested that the International Criminal Court prosecutor investigate the targeting of journalists in Gaza as war crimes.

Targeting of journalists was “deliberate” and constitutes “war crimes,” Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders said. “The Israeli authorities could not have been unaware of the presence of journalists among the civilian demonstration.”

The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate is also forming a committee of various Palestinian media outlets to prepare legal files to send to the International Criminal Court and some European courts. The move comes in response to Israel’s targeting of journalists in Gaza, especially the killing of two reporters.

Since the start of the Great March of Return on March 30, Israel has killed Palestinian journalists Yaser Murtaja and Ahmad Abu Hussein, and injured more than 90, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.

Among those injured was photojournalist Yasir Qudih, whose work has frequently appeared on The Electronic Intifada. Qudih was critically injured by live ammunition on May 14, and was later taken to al-Makassed hospital in Jerusalem. His condition has now stabilised.

Another photojournalist whose photographs have frequently appeared on The Electronic IntifadaAshraf Abu Amra was also injured while covering the protests on May 15.

“The Israeli occupation is afraid of this lens,” he told Quds News Network. “It wants to repress this fact, it wants to blur this lens, so as to not expose its crimes.

“Despite all the wounds and despite all the pain, we will document these crimes for the world.”

Meanwhile, journalists have been targeted at protests by Palestinians in the West Bank in solidarity with marchers in Gaza, in commemoration of the Nakba and against the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces injured Jordanian-American photographer Tanya Habjouqa with a rubber bullet during a “non-moment, standing around waiting for the circus to begin,” as she was preparing to cover the protests near the Beit El checkpoint on 15 May, according to The Art Newspaper.

[Abridged from Electronic Intifada.]

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