On the International Day to End Impunity: The Occupation Violates the Freedom of 705 Palestinian Media Professionals since 2018.

2018-12-07 10:41


On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
Journalist Support Committee: The occupation violates the freedom of 705 Palestinian media professionals since 2018.

The Israeli occupation continues its arbitrary policy against the Palestinian media and its activists, a punitive measure to pass the crimes of the occupier and its settlers through the use of various punitive methods to stop and stigmatize Palestinian journalists from practising their work in exposing the occupation's racist practices.

On the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, we at the Journalist Support Committee call upon the international institutions concerned with freedom of the press and media to prosecute the Israeli occupation for its direct crimes against Palestinian journalists in the Palestinian territories and to demand the implementation of resolution 2222 of the UN Security Council, which protects journalists.

The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution at its 68th meeting in 2013, by which it announced November 2nd as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI). This resolution urged Member States to take specific measures to end impunity.

We also hold the Israeli occupation responsible for the violations against journalists and "which has become an aspect that must be taken into consideration." We assure that the freedom of press work is guaranteed by law and no one can prevent or restrict it. We call upon human rights organization to exert pressure on the occupation to respect international laws and conventions that guarantee freedom of opinion and expression.

We note that several occasions and tough decisions are taking place at a time when the occupation continues its crimes against journalists and media professionals without respecting those laws and resolutions and without any deterrent from international quarters and courts. The occupation still detains in its prisons 19 journalists, including patients and three female journalists where some of them are mothers who left their toddlers, noting that the number of detainees in Israeli prisons fluctuates between increasing and decreasing, according to campaigns of arrests launched by the occupation authorities against journalists.

According to the monitoring department at the Journalist Support Committee, 7 journalists were arrested and sentenced: Mahmoud Issa, Ahmad Al-Saifi, Yousef Shalabi, Munther Khalaf Mufleh, Mohammad Nimer Asida, Mus'ab Sa'id and Estabrak Al-Tamimi. Four administrative journalists are also arrested without charge: Abdallah Shatat, Musa Salah Samhan, Osama Shahin, Muhammad Muna. Eight journalists are still awaiting trial: Bassam Al-Sayeh, Radwan Qatani, Yasin Abu Lefah, Musa Al-Qudmani, Ahmed Al-Arabid, Yasser Al-Arabid, Suzanne Al-Aweiwi and Lama Khater.

In the latest report prepared by the Committee since the beginning of this year, it showed that the occupation forces committed 705 violations, during which they arrested about 89 journalists, and extended, postponed and sentenced 59 others.

As for the injuries, the report pointed out that the occupation is expanding its crimes against journalists and media personnel by means of combat, which led to the death of two journalists who were shot by an explosive bullet, which had torn all of their internal organs, while covering the march of return on the borders of the Gaza Strip, which began in late March 2018. The journalists are Yasser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein.

Concerning the number of injuries suffered by journalists during their coverage and performance, the report indicated that 290 journalists have been injured since the beginning of the year in the occupied Palestinian territories, most of them from the Gaza Strip. The injuries varied from direct assault to rubber-coated metal bullets, live ammunition, stun grenades and battery. In addition to cases of suffocation and poisoning by the dumping of poison gas and pepper gas on journalists during their coverage.

The report also stated that the Israeli occupation forces prevented 87 journalists and media professionals from covering peaceful marches in an aim to prevent their work, confiscate their equipment and withdraw their press cards, which reached 32 cases since the beginning of the year.

The occupation also prevented six journalists from travelling, whether to receive treatment, to attend an international conference, or to receive prizes or education, under vague security pretexts.

The report recorded seven cases of incitement and accusation, and 43 cases of closure of institutions and sites, including the closure of the Jerusalem satellite channel while preventing it from working inside the occupied territories of 1948 and the city of Jerusalem and prevent dealing with it by companies that provide information services. In addition, the report recorded the closure of Elia Youth Media Foundation printing press, Al-Resala Media, the Palestinian Rai Agency, and Al-Aqsa Satellite several times.

Concerning incursions and raids of journalists’ homes and media institutions, 51 cases were documented.

The occupation has not only prosecuted journalists but also extended their hands to torture journalists inside Israeli prisons and prevent the visit of their relatives and lawyers and impose fines on them, which amounted to 39 cases of harassment in prisons, including 29 cases of imposition of a fine.

On the eve of celebrating the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Journalist Support Committee affirms the following:

  • The violations against Palestinian journalists are a shock to all observers of the situation of press freedoms. Therefore, we stress that the failure to bring perpetrators to international courts encourages more violations against journalists.
  • We strongly condemn the Israeli occupation forces attacking journalists during their coverage of the events of the return marches, and consider it a failed attempt to obliterate the truth and prevent the Palestinian people from demanding their national rights.
  • We note that the disregard of the international institutions of the occupation aggressions encouraged the perpetrators to continue the arbitrary measures against the media and their institutions.
  • We call on the Palestinian media and human rights organizations to work in a unified manner with specific mechanisms to demand the necessity of punishing the Israeli occupation for its violations against Palestinian journalists, in addition t,o identify mechanisms to convey the suffering of journalists to all parts of the world.
  • We also call on international and human rights institutions to exert pressure on “Israel” through the release of detained journalists and to stop the detention of journalists, noting that all international charters and conventions guarantee free movement and coverage without any pressure. Stressing that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights protect freedom of expression on the basis that everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference.
  • We call upon the International Federation of Journalists to provide protection to Palestinian journalists, to hold the occupation accountable for its crimes and suspend its membership in the International Federation of Journalists.
  • We appeal to human rights and media organizations to activate their role to hold accountable the aggressors against journalists, because of the recent high rate of violations in both Palestine and the Arab world.
  • We note that impunity gives the green light for violations to pursue. We also call for the need to provide practical mechanisms and a clear program to identify the next steps in applying the responsibility in protecting all relevant actors in the field.

Journalist Support Committee - Palestine
2 November 2018