UN deplores Israel’s violations against Palestinian journalists

The International Federation of Journalists and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate submitted,Tuesday, two complaints to the United Nations stating that “Israel’s actions are a breach of international law and amount to war crimes. They are also a violation of the right to life and freedom of expression, and show systematic targeting of media workers, the use of excessive lethal force, discrimination and impunity.”

The two complaints were also addressed to Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Agnes Callamard, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions .

Victims and their families, allegations of systematic targeting, excessive use of lethal force, and discrimination and impunity, were represented in the complaints which were drafted by leading human rights lawyers at Dotty Street Chambers in London.

The two special rapporteurs complaints call to investigate the case of Moaz Amarneh, who lost his eye by Israeli fire in 2019, the killing of Ahmed Abu Hussein and Yasser Murtaji, in 2018, and the injury of Nidal Ashteh in 2015. They also call for investigations into discrimination and other systemic issues that hinder the Palestinian journalists ability to do their jobs.

The four aforementioned cases summarize the systematic targeting of the Israeli forces against Palestinian media professionals which is interfere with the international law and the official rules of the Israeli army. In addition, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that lethal force should only be used as a last resort and in circumstances where there is an actual risk to life or bodily integrity.

“Besides the authorities systematic failure of investigation, the use of lethal and less-lethal forces to the head leads to serious and permanent injuries. In circumstances where injured can be clearly identified such as journalists, it constitutes a particularly serious violation of the right to life and freedom of expression and and shows a flagrant disregard for the rule of law,” the International Federation of Journalists said.

These repeated incidents that target journalists with lethal or possibly lethal force raise real and serious concern over the existence of an official or unofficial policy against them and others who are seeking to document and cover protests against the Israeli occupation.

This targeting of Palestinian journalists is part of a wider pattern of discrimination directed against them and against the members of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, especially with regard to freedom of expression and movement, which prevents journalists from carrying out their work in documenting and reporting events and violations such as the protests of “Great March of Return” creating a dangerous environment for journalists.

The International Federation of Journalists and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate long ago documented numerous violations against journalists in Palestine. 760 violations of journalists rights, including more than 200 cases of physical assaults, scores of injuries with rubber-coated steel bullets, at least 10 serious injuries with live ammunition, and at least 33 journalists killed since 1990 were documented.

“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. 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,” Anthony Bellanger, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, said.

Source : Safa

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