Apartheid Israel Escalates Assassination Policy against Palestinian Journalists Reporting its Genocide in Gaza.
In the midst of Israel’s US and European enabled genocide against 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, Palestinians, especially Al Jazeera's Palestine crew and other Palestinian media workers, recently bade farewell to the talented Al Jazeera photographer, Samer Wael Abu Daqqa, who was killed in a deliberate Israeli airstrike in Gaza last Friday.
Israeli occupation forces obstructed ambulance teams from reaching Samer for more than 5 hours, leaving him to bleed to death–a policy that the Israeli military has used for decades against wounded Palestinians.
Israel’s targeting of Samer, and with him the inspiring Al Jazeera reporter, Wael Al-Dahdouh, has reminded Palestinians of the targeted murder last year of the iconic Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, while she was reporting from occupied Jenin.
While trying to save Samer, who was shouting for help after being severely wounded by the Israeli strike, three Palestinian emergency service responders were killed by direct Israeli fire, and veteran Palestinian journalist Wael Aldahoud was injured—all in their professional uniforms. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), whose research has shown that 72 percent of journalists killed on the job in 2023 were killed in Gaza, condemned the Israeli attack on Samer Abu Daqqa.
Since the start of its genocidal war on Gaza in October, Israel has sought to suppress coverage of its atrocities in Gaza by adopting a two-fold strategy: preventing the international media from entering Gaza and assassinating the most impactful Palestinian journalists in Gaza after threatening them that unless they stopped reporting they and their families would be killed, as reported by several Palestinian journalists.
We lost Samer in a barbaric [Israeli] attack that directly targeted us, despite prior coordination... Our consolation is that we will carry this noble humanitarian message. We will continue to do our duty with the best of professionalism, objectivity, and transparency, despite Israeli attacks targeting the lives of more than 80 fellow [Palestinian] journalists, and that directly targeted their families, offices, and cars. This is the case for the whole of the Gaza Strip. We will continue our duty and we will carry our message.
Diaa al-Kahlout, the Gaza bureau chief of The New Arab's Arabic Language Service, was arrested by Israeli forces on December 7, prompting widespread concerns and condemnation from human rights groups, including Reporters Without Borders (RSF), while The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for his immediate release. The spokesperson for the UN Secretary General expressed concerns about Al-Kahlout’s fate. Al-Kahlout was forcibly taken from his home in Beit Lahia in the north of the occupied Gaza Strip and reportedly subjected to physical abuse by Israeli soldiers. Subsequently, he appeared in a distressing video alongside other randomly kidnapped Palestinian men and boys. In the video, he was shown stripped of his clothes with bound hands.
Reflecting inspiring courage and commitment for 70 days and counting, and despite the unimaginable grief, trauma and exhaustion, Palestinian journalists covering Israel’s genocide in Gaza continue to perform their professional mission, refusing to be intimidated.
This latest murder is part of a consistent pattern of Israeli violent attacks against Palestinian journalists, and to a lesser extent international journalists covering Palestine, revealing the brutalities of Israel’s 75-year-old regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid. Yet, mainstream Western media coverage remains as racist and dehumanizing towards Palestinians and as supportive of Israel’s genocide, leading a former senior UN human rights official to say:
The repeated non-critical recitation of false, dehumanizing Israeli propaganda by western media is not sloppy journalism -- it is war propaganda and incitement to #genocide for which they must be held accountable as their media counterparts were in the Nuremberg & Rwanda tribunals.
Justice for Samer, for Shireen, for Dia, and for the tens of thousands massacred or injured or arrested by apartheid Israel during its ongoing genocide in Gaza, demands far more than mere condemnation. It starts with ending all business-as-usual with Israel, ending all forms of complicity in its regime of colonial oppression. Without unprecedented measures of accountability and lawful sanctions against it, starting with a comprehensive military embargo, Israel will set a new norm of might makes right, where powerful states can perpetrate a livestreamed genocide against weaker nations and racialized communities with utter impunity.
In response to Israel’s targeted killing of tens of Palestinian journalists in Gaza, and many others elsewhere, Palestinian civil society urges local/national journalist syndicates and federations to take concrete action, including:
Ending ties with complicit Israeli institutions.
Pledging to refuse junkets to Israel funded by the Israeli government, complicit Israeli institutions and Israel lobby groups.
Supporting journalists who refuse to cover assignments in Israel on ethical grounds.
Supporting the IFJ case before the ICC on Israel’s systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists.
Pledging to respect the ethical and professional journalistic guidelines developed by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and the Palestinian BDS National Committee.
Pledging to center Palestinian voices and eyewitnesses instead of centering Israeli government and military spokespersons.
Urge media studies and journalism faculties and departments to:
Respect the Palestinian BDS call by ending ties with complicit Israeli institutions.
Refuse to host official representatives of complicit Israeli institutions.
Palestinians do not need charity. We need meaningful solidarity, and we demand accountability.