Gazan Journalists Present a Memorandum to the Red Cross Demanding Protection for Press Crews in Light of the Increasing Attacks Against Them
Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip called for the formation of an international commission of inquiry to investigate the crimes of the Israeli occupation against them and to provide international protection in the light of the increasing attacks that led to the death of photojournalist Yaser Murtaja and the wounding of 43 other journalists, including 14 journalists wounded with live ammunition and the amputation of one photographer's leg.
Nine journalist trade union and masses submitted to the Red Cross in Gaza a memorandum calling for the immediate cessation of the Israeli aggression against journalists through the effective and binding intervention of all relevant international, human rights and humanitarian organizations and associations, and to carry out their duty to provide the necessary field protection for journalists while covering events in the Palestinian territories.
The memorandum called on the Red Cross and the United Nations to assist in the allocation of safe places for journalists while covering the events in the camps of return at the borders of the Gaza Strip under the auspices and protection of the committee, considering that what encouraged the occupier to commit these attacks is the silence of international organizations and institutions concerned with the protection of journalists' rights and freedom of opinion and expression, and its failure to take a strong practical stance.
The memorandum called on the United Nations Human Rights Rapporteur to set up a professional international commission to investigate the Israeli attacks on journalists while performing their professional duty in the Palestinian territories and in the Gaza Strip in particular, attacks described as a flagrant assault on the principles of international humanitarian law.
The memorandum also called for the provision of professional safety equipment and necessary tools to ensure journalist protection, in addition, to facilitate their entry into the Gaza Strip which is still prevented by the occupation for more than 10 years, and to facilitate entry and travel of journalists through Beit Hanoun "Erez" checkpoint, in which the occupation prevents the vast majority of journalists from crossing under flimsy and false pretenses.
The Coordinator of the Journalist Support Committee in Palestine, Mr. Saleh Al-Masri, stressed the need for serious and hard work from all official and Palestinian rights institutions in order to activate the file of the attacks of the occupation on journalists and to make it a priority to apply for a referral to the International Criminal Court, especially in the light of documented video and audio evidence condemning the occupation.
Mr. Al-Masri stated that the occupation is bound, in accordance with international conventions and conventions, by providing security and safety for journalists, as well as respect for the right of the Palestinian people to peaceful civil protest, as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolutions 1738 and 2222.
For her part, Ms. Suzanna Duetling, director of the ICRC's information department, welcomed the Palestinian journalists and expressed her solidarity with them after the death of photojournalist Yasser Murtaja and wished the injured journalists a speedy recovery.
Ms. Suzanna stressed that the Red Cross administration is paying close attention to the demands made by journalists in Gaza, stressing the importance of journalists to continue performing their duty in a safe environment.
Ms. Suzanna stated that the Red Cross provided emergency medical assistance to Palestinian hospitals to help unarmed civilians who were severely injured.
Vice-President of the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate (PJS), Mr. Tahsin Al-Astal, also called for the need to protect journalists in the light of the official Israeli decision taken by the Israeli "Defense" Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, in which he threatened to target journalists.
The Journalist Support Committee called for the need to provide protection for journalists, considering that one of its most important tasks was to provide protection to civilians in dangerous areas.
Mr. Al-Astal valued the role of the Federation of Arab Journalists, which decided to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the attacks on Palestinian journalists.
The meeting, together with journalists and directors of the press offices, was attended by representatives of press groups that presented the memorandum, namely: the Government Information Office, the Journalists Syndicate, the Journalists Support Committee, Forum of Palestinian Journalists, the Democratic Media Gathering, Democratic Press Gathering, Red Cross spokesman Mr. Suheir Zaqout, and Red Cross adviser to the director Mr. Fayez Al-Aqra.
Journalist Support Committee - Palestine
12 April 2018