Introduction

 

Israeli forces have continued to systematically attack local and international media workers,[1] who are interested in covering the area, despite the protection extended to them under international law.  These
violations are part of the ongoing escalation in war crimes and other violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.  It is clear that the Israeli practices against media workers, including killings and threats to their personal safety, is part of a well-planned scheme to isolate the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) from the rest of the world and to provide cover for crimes against civilians.[2]

 This report is the 15th in an ongoing series of “Silencing the Press” reports issued by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).  It covers the period 01 August 2011 – 31 December 2012, and shows a significant escalation of Israeli attacks and violations against media workers in the oPt.

 This report aims to document the attacks by Israeli forces and Israeli settlers against media workers.  It includes detailed accounts of all Israeli forces’ attacks on media workers and media institutions, as documented by PCHR. This documentation is supported by testimonies of victims and eyewitnesses and by field investigations.  PCHR’s investigations refute many of the Israeli forces’ claims regarding certain crimes, including killings[3] and opening fire on media workers.  PCHR believes that these crimes were committed willfully using excessive lethal force, without taking into consideration the principles of distinction and proportionality, and that these crimes were not justified by military necessity.  This report documents 113 attacks by Israeli forces against media workers and media institutions during the reporting period including: violations of media workers’ right to life and right to safety and security of person; beating media workers and subjecting them to other means of violence as well as humiliating and degrading treatment; arresting and holding media workers; denying media workers access to certain areas and preventing them from covering certain incidents; confiscation of
media equipment and devices; preventing media workers from travelling abroad; raiding the homes of media workers; and destroying equipment and cars of media workers whilst on duty.   

 Furthermore, Israeli forces’ crimes against media workers come to light in this report in the period of the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, “Operation Pillar of Defense,” (14 – 21 November 2012), while media workers worked professionally to cover the offensive.  These attacks took place in spite of the protection extended to media workers under international law.  The most serious of these attacks was the Israeli forces’ killing of 4 media workers, as well as the targeting of a number of media offices in Gaza City, which resulted in wounding 14 of them.

 During the reporting period, another significant aspect was the Israeli forces’ attacks against media workers on duty covering peaceful demonstrations organized by dozens of Palestinian civilians and international solidarity activists protesting the confiscation of Palestinian land in the West Bank for the purposes of the construction of the annexation wall or expansion of Israeli settlements. In many of the documented incidents, media workers sustained serious wounds.  On the other hand, the number of violations committed in the Gaza Strip decreased for its particularity after the Israeli unilateral redeployment outside of it.  Still, a number of violations were documented in the Gaza Strip (in previous
reports) and were relevant to violent dispersal of peaceful demonstrations near the border fence or to the banning of media workers from travelling out of the Gaza Strip through the Israeli-controlled crossings.

 Violation of the right to life and the right to safety and security of person are the most significant violations committed by Israeli forces against media workers.  According to PCHR’s documentation, Israeli forces killed 15 media workers while on duty in the oPt between 28 September 2000 and 31 December 2012.[4]

 The full report is available PDF Format:

 


[1] Media workers include
journalists, reporters, cameramen and workers at press offices.

[2]  The isolation policy
adopted by Israeli forces is not limited to attacks and violations against
media workers, as Israeli forces, for example, impose severe restrictions on
the entry of internationals to the oPt, especially the Gaza Strip.  This is also an attempt to isolate the oPt
from the world in order to cover its crimes against Palestinian civilians.

[3] For more details about killing crimes committed by
Israeli forces against media workers, see the series of “Silencing the Press”
reports.

[4] The statistics of media workers do not include the
deaths mentioned in this report.  A
number of media workers were killed in conditions unrelated to their work
between 28 September 2000 and 31 July 2011.
See appendix I titled “Table: Media Workers Killed While on
the Job”.