The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the killing of 3 journalists in two separate airstrikes on Tuesday, 20 November 2012, in Gaza City and the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah. PCHR believes that such crimes are aimed at silencing the press and preventing journalists from reporting on the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law being committed by Israeli Occupation Forces against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. Journalists and media professionals, like civilian persons, enjoy special protection in time of war under international humanitarian law.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 17:45 on Tuesday, 20 November 2012, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at Hussam Mohammed Salama, 30, and Mahmoud Ali al-Koumi, 29, cameramen of the Gaza-based al-Aqsa Satellite Channel, while they were traveling in a civilian car clearly marked with ‘TV’. They were traveling on al-Shifa Street in the west of Gaza City on their way to Shifa Hospital in order to film the admission of victims of Israeli attacks into the hospital. As a result of the attack, the two journalists were instantly killed.
At approximately 18:40, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at Mohammed Mousa Abu Eisha, 24, Manager of al-Quds Educational Television, while he was walking with his friend, Hassan Yousef al-Ostaz, 22, both from Deir al-Balah. Abu Eisha and his friend were killed instantly.
In another attack, at approximately 02:00 on Wednesday, 21 November 2012, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at an open area across the street from the Orient/ Beach Hotel on Beach Road, where dozens of international journalists and reporters are based. Jarkko Tiitinen, a Finnish freelance journalist, stated to PCHR that the explosion from the first missile caused the electricity supplies to the hotel to be cut. He reported that the second missile caused secondary damage to the hotel building and caused a staff member of the hotel to be wounded.
It is worth noting that 10 media professionals had previously been wounded on Sunday morning, 18 November 2012, when Israeli warplanes bombarded the offices of al-Quds Satellite Channel and al-Aqsa Television. In the meantime, Israeli forces have continued to hack Palestinians news websites and jam the broadcasts of a number of local radio stations in order to deliver messages through them.
With these latest attacks, the number of journalists and media professionals killed by Israeli forces since 2000 has risen to 13, including 2 international journalists; dozens more have been wounded.
PCHR strongly condemns these crimes, and:
1- Stresses that these crimes are aimed to silence and the press and prevent journalists from reporting on crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians;
2- Reminds that journalists and media professionals, like civilian persons, enjoy special protection in time of war under international humanitarian law;
3- Points out that these crimes violate the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to obtain information from various sources, which are ensured under international human rights standards; and
4- Calls upon the international community, in particular the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, to fulfill their obligations to ensure respect for the Conventions, and to effectively intervene to prevent grave breaches of the Convention by Israel.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893