135 Palestinian journalists killed in Gaza by Israel in 7 months

135 Palestinian journalists killed in Gaza by Israel in 7 months

Since October 7, 2023, at least 135 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israel in Gaza, according to the Union of Palestinian Journalists (SJP).

On the 209th day of its genocidal aggression on the Gaza Strip, Israel has murdered more than 135 Palestinian journalists, SJP spokesperson Shuruq As'ad (whose figures have not yet been updated) told the Palestine Media Agency during an interview on May 2.

The SPJ spokesperson also told the Agency that to date, 1,500 journalists have been moved to the south of the Gaza Strip, to Rafah, where they face constant internet connection cuts. The hundred journalists who remained in the north of the bombed enclave, like 1.1 million Gazans, are facing a level of famine considered “catastrophic”, according to the World Food Program.

This World Press Freedom Day, celebrated every May 3, marks the peak of the deadliest period for journalists: according to the Center for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), which has been recording these statistics since 1992, it is the first time that a state – in this case the State of Israel – is directly responsible for the deaths of so many journalists over such a concentrated period. Indeed, 3/4 of journalists killed in the world – in 2023 alone – were killed in Gaza.

The director of CPJ, Jodie Ginsberg, declared last February: “Every journalist killed is an attack on our understanding of the world”. This “undermining of the world's understanding” is an integral part of Israel's policy of systematic silencing of Palestinian voices documenting the crimes it commits in the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank and South Lebanon. As Imen Habib, coordinator of the Palestine Media Agency, recalls in an interview given this Friday, May 3 to France 24, Israeli censorship aims to push Palestinian journalists out of Gaza so that there is no one left to document this that it is happening in the Gazan enclave.

While Israel has killed more than 34,356 Palestinians, including at least 14,500 children, and Netanyahu announced on May 1 the imminent invasion of Rafah where more than 1.4 million displaced Palestinians are taking refuge, the Court International Criminal Court (ICC) is reportedly on the verge of issuing arrest warrants targeting senior Israeli officials, including Benjamin Netanyahu. This initiative joins the several condemnations against Israel of deliberate assassinations of Palestinian journalists since October 2023, in particular by UN experts, and also the multiple complaints filed in November and December 2023 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF ) in order to demand UN protection for journalists in Gaza, in light of resolution 2222 of its charter.

Deliberately targeting and killing journalists is recognized as one of the most effective ways to erase evidence of a crime committed, or in the process of being committed. It is also punishable by a conviction for “war crimes” according to RSF, which filed a complaint in November 2023 with the ICC, declaring: “Since 2000, there have never been so many journalists killed”.

According to CPJ: “Journalists in Gaza face exponential risk,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. Journalists from the BBCofAl Jazeeraof RT Arabic and D'Al-Araby TV reported that the Israeli police and army, among others, had obstructed their
reports since the start of the war. CPJ research also shows that more than half of journalists surveyed face terrorism charges in response to their coverage of the situation in Gaza.

While international journalists are still not allowed inside the Gaza Strip (apart from rare exceptions such as Clarissa Ward for the channel
American CNN in December 2023), Amnesty International also deplores a refusal to let its human rights investigators enter the enclave in order to report
take into account the situation on the ground and be able to investigate the crimes committed by Israel.

According to the SJP, to date, 73 buildings housing news agencies have been targeted and destroyed in Gaza, like the AFP office last November. Palestinian journalists are subjected to blatant and relentless targeting by Israel, while the exercise of their profession has already been made almost impossible in Gaza given the incessant cuts in access to electricity, the internet and to telecommunications. In response to the deliberate attack on press freedom suffered by Palestinian journalism, specifically Gazan journalism, UNESCO awarded the 2024 Press Freedom Prize to journalists from Gaza on May 2.

The SJP regularly updates this list of Palestinian journalists killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip since October 2023.

Palestine Media Agency