Ahmad Tal’at by Padma Yang June 1, 2021
There is nothing new about Israel’s Defense Forces’ abuse of Palestinian journalists.
Back in 2018, Palestinian photojournalist Ahmad Abu Hussein was shot in the abdomen while covering protests in Gaza. Multiple journalists have been either severely wounded or killed by IDF in the following years.
Palestinian journalists have been wearing vests clearly marked with “PRESS” in the front. The letters, however, have not provided them with protection. Their personal safety continues to get caught up in IDF’s merciless effort to disperse protestors through open fire.
Besides brutal attacks and killings, the Israel Defense Forces are also known for their pattern of not compensating Palestinian journalists that they have injured.
Ignacio Miguel Delgado Culebras, the Middle East and North African representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, noted, the IDF “has failed to employ nonlethal methods to deal with demonstrators while ensuring the safety of journalists” and “routinely delays any investigations into its misconduct.”
Listed below are some journalists who have been attacked or lost their lives while they were outside covering news. Their heartbreaking stories, however, are just the tip of the iceberg…
“When Israel restricts or threatens the press, it dehumanizes Palestinians.”Sherine Tadros from Amnesty International, The Intercept.
On April 25, 2018, 24-year-old Palestinian photojournalist Ahmed Abu Hussein died from critical bullet wounds in his abdomen. He was shot by the IDF while covering a protest near Jabalia 12 days ago.
Despite wearing a protective vest marked “PRESS” at the time, Hussein was not afforded extra protection. Hussein’s death marked the second Palestinian journalist to be fatally shot by the Israeli armed forces in the protests.
Tal’at is another Palestinian journalist shot by the Israeli army, yet still with no compensation. Tal’at was shot in his right leg while he was documenting a demonstration in the West Bank.
The court admitted that Israeli forces did shoot Tal’at’s leg but denied the army’s responsibility for the photographer’s injury. The IDF, according to the lawsuit, is not obligated to pay the damages as the event happened during an “act of war.”
22-year-old Faraj was traveling with a four-member television crew in Gaza back in December 2008. After completing an interview with Al-Wa’d Association for prisoners, the crew’s car was hit by an Israeli airstrike.
The regional news report claimed that the crew was not targeted but simply within the range of the attack; the crew’s car was hit by shrapnel and debris from the strike. Faraj sustained a severe head injury, and was pronounced dead in early January of the next year.
It was July 30, 2014. Palestinian journalist Rami Rayan was killed when he was covering Palestinian citizens shopping for basic necessities at a busy market in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza.
Regardless of the four-hour truce called by the Israeli military at the time, repeated explosions took place. Rami was first seen filming the arrivals of ambulances at the beginning of his video. By the end, he was found dead on the street with other victims.
Abdellatif is a female Palestinian reporter for the news website Middle East Eye.
On May 18, 2021, she was covering a protest at the Old City’s Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and was assaulted by the Israeli forces. Although identified as a member of the press, Abdellatif was shoved, hit in the knee with a baton, and her headscarf was pulled down by the Israeli security officers.
Palestinian radio journalist Yusef Abu Hussein was killed in an Israeli air raid that struck his house in the besieged Gaza Strip this year. Hussein’s neighborhood, Sheikh Radwan, was continuously bombarded by the Israeli forces on the same day.
Hussein is yet another innocent victim of the Israeli military’s brutal attacks.
Murtaja was a Palestinian video journalist and photographer from the Gaza Strip. He was also the co-founder of Ain Media Production Company.
During the Gaza border protests on April 6, 2018, Murtaja was documenting demonstrators near the border at Khan Younis. He was operating a Steadicam, wearing a flak jacket marked “PRESS,” yet was shot in the stomach by an Israeli sniper.
Murtaja always had his dream of flying and traveling, but he could no longer dream since that day.
“I hope the day that I can take this image when I am in the sky instead of on the ground will come! My name is Yaser, I am 30 years old, live in Gaza City and I have never traveled before in my life!”Yaser Murtaja
It is not just Palestinian journalists; the entire media industry has been under constant attack by IDF in Palestine so far.
Because of the lack of Israeli permission and protection by global media, Palestinian media workers have been constantly targeted. In addition to being exposed to danger due to their Palestinian identity, they also bear the grave responsibility of telling the most authentic stories of their people to the world.
IDF’s intentional demolitions of Palestinian media offices and attacks on Palestinian press members deprive the world of the right to necessary news coverage.
It is a constantly dangerous job, but Palestinian journalists are still risking their lives to walk in the war zone. They understand well that they hold the accountability to provide evidence of crimes that the war has engendered.
These journalists out there are not just numbers; their faces deserve to be respected and remembered.
“Israel seeks to obliterate the Palestinian message, but each injury only makes us ready to expose their crimes. Our narration will never stop.”Faiz Quraiqea, The Intercept.