RAMALLAH, July 30, 2014 – (WAFA) – The Israeli army continues relentlessly to target Palestinian reporters while covering the evacuation of casualties to Gaza hospitals or the West Bank protests in solidarity with besieged Gaza population, said Reporters Without Borders (RWB) in a press release issued Tuesday.
“Covering the military conflict and its ripple effects in Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian media, including Hamas broadcast stations, find themselves in the Israeli army crosshairs,” said RWB.
Following 22 days of a conflict in which 1,100 Palestinians as well as 47 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed, the Israeli army at dawn on 29 July, bombed the headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV, the Hamas channel, located in the Nasser neighborhood, northeast of Gaza City. Despite the destruction of some equipment and material, the station continued broadcasting via clandestine studios.
Forty-five minutes later, the Hamas radio station, Al-Aqsa, came under fire. Located in the Al-Shourouq building, in the Rimal neighborhood of downtown Gaza City, the station went off the air after the attack. No employees were wounded.
The building houses a number of media bureaus, many of them damaged. The offices of Al-Aqsa TV in Burj Al-Shourouq had been hit by Israeli rocket fire two days earlier, on 27th of July.
The press release quoted Sa’ad Radwan, Al-Aqsa station Director-General as saying: “As the Israeli Operation “Protective Edge” proceeds, a rocket hit the 15th floor of the building in Burj Al-Shurouq, in the Al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, that houses the station. The attack caused considerable physical damage including the destruction of some station equipment.”
Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned direct fire on the Hamas broadcast stations, stating “The fact that media serve as propaganda organs does not justify making them a military target.”
RWB noted that an expert committee formed by the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia, to assess the NATO bombing campaign of 1999, specified that a journalist or media organization is not a legitimate target merely because it broadcasts or disseminates propaganda.
“Attacks against civilian targets constitute war crimes and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions,” RWB Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said during the 2012 Israeli “Pillar of Defence” military aggression in Gaza. “Those responsible must be identified,” he added.
RWB mentioned that on 24th of July, Abdurrahman Abu Hina, a programming staffer at Al-Kitab TV, was killed during Israeli bombing on the Al-Shuja’iya neighborhood of east Gaza, where he was visiting family. The attack killed 60 people in all, including the journalist’s brother and grandfather, who had been in the family home.
On 23rd of July, Saber Ibrahim Nour Eddine, a photographer for Deutsche Press-Agentur, a German press agency, was wounded by shrapnel from a mortar fired by the Israeli army while covering, alongside colleagues, the removal of bodies from Al-Shuja’iya. He was taken to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City where he received emergency treatment. The day before, Sakher Madhat Abou Al-Aoun, a journalist for AFP, a French news agency, was wounded in the face from Israeli missile fire, near Al-Shifa Hospital.