Israel’s War on Gaza Deadliest for Journalists as Nearly 100 Killed so Far

Palestinian journalist Wael al-Dahdouh was injured while covering an Israeli bombing in Khan Yunis. (Photo: via social media)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

More journalists have been killed in the first ten weeks of Israel’s bombardment than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year. 

As the number of journalists killed in the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip nears 100, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says more journalists have been killed in the first ten weeks of the bombardment than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year. 

The death of Ala Abu Muammar brought the number of journalists’ deaths to 98, the Gaza Government Media Office said in a statement on Thursday. It did not provide details about his death. 

The Media Office previously said that Israel “intentionally” killed journalists in Gaza to silence “the Palestinian narrative, concealing the truth, and deliberately preventing news and information from reaching regional and international public opinion,” reports the Anadolu News Agency.

According to a CPJ report, by December 20, at least 68 journalists and media workers had been killed since October 7.

“The Israel-Gaza war is the most dangerous situation for journalists we have ever seen, and these figures show that clearly,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, quoted in the CPJ report.

“The Israeli army has killed more journalists in 10 weeks than any other army or entity has in any single year. And with every journalist killed, the war becomes harder to document and to understand.”

Research Thwarted by Destruction and Family Deaths

The CPJ said it is investigating in more detail the circumstances of all 68 deaths. “This research is hampered by the widespread destruction in Gaza, and, in a number of cases, the fact that the journalists were killed along with family members who typically are sources for such information,” it stressed. 

More than half the deaths – 37 – occurred during the first month of the current conflict, making it the deadliest single month documented by CPJ since it began collecting data in 1992, the report said.

It added that in Iraq, the only country to approach this toll in a single year, 56 journalists were killed in 2006.

The CPJ said deaths have taken place against a backdrop of growing censorship of media in the region, including at least 20 arrests as well as physical and online harassment of journalists. Media facilities have also been damaged or destroyed.

“Deadly Pattern” Over More Than Twenty Years

In May, the CPJ published Deadly Pattern, a report that found members of the Israel occupation forces had killed at least 20 journalists over the past 22 years and that no one had ever been charged or held accountable for their deaths.

“Journalists are civilians and must be treated as such under international humanitarian law,” said Mansour, in the report.

“It’s imperative we see independent, transparent investigations into the latest pattern of killings,” he added.

“In addition, the Israeli army must end its muzzling of international media by allowing them to report from Gaza, stop its harassment of journalists in the West Bank, and allow the free flow of information and humanitarian aid into Gaza,” Mansour stressed.

Demands for Journalists’ Protection, Investigate Attacks

The CPJ on Thursday listed a series of calls to Israel and the international community, of which the main recommendations are:

1. Protect the lives of journalists, including access to humanitarian aid and basic protective equipment such as helmets and flak jackets to reporters in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

2. Provide access and the ability to report, including granting access to Gaza for international news organizations, and ensure media credentials and press insignia are respected. It also requested that new regulations be repealed that allow for the shutdown of news organizations and end the “administrative detention” of journalists, which allows for imprisonment without charge.

3.Investigate attacks and end impunity, a call to end the longstanding pattern of impunity in cases of journalists killed by the Israeli occupation forces.

The report also mentioned repeated communications blackouts and a lack of fuel, food, and housing due to the bombardment and limited humanitarian assistance has severely stifled reporting in Gaza, where international journalists have had almost no independent access for most of the war.

The CPJ report also highlighted that Palestinian journalists report a desperate need for assistance to be able to continue reporting, including in the West Bank where some funders have cut funding for long-standing partners.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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