Several journalists have been injured, arrested or attacked in Jerusalem, while 21 media organisations were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.
The Israeli offensive being carried out in the occupied Palestinian territories over the past week has spared no one, including journalists who have been caught in its crosshairs while reporting amid the violence.
In occupied East Jerusalem on May 7 and 10, Israeli security forces fired rubber bullets and injured at least eight Palestinian and international journalists covering the protests at the Temple Mount complex and Al Aqsa Mosque.
Anadolu Agency’s Middle East news editor, Turgut Alp Boyraz, was shot twice by Israeli police in two separate incidents while reporting.
Boyraz was one of four journalists from the Turkish news outlet that were attacked.
AA’s photojournalist Fayez Abu Rumaila was brutally beaten by Israeli forces while covering clashes at the Al Aqsa complex.
“I have bruises all over my body. I told the officers that I am a journalist, but they kept hitting me,” he said.
אלימות תוך כדי מעצר בהר הבית. pic.twitter.com/JWwhGZ5EO0— نير حسون Nir Hasson ניר חסון (@nirhasson) May 10, 2021
Then on May 12, Israeli airstrikes destroyed the Al Jawhara tower, a 10-storey building in Gaza City that housed the offices of fourteen media organisations.
The offices included those of The National Information Agency, Palestine Newspaper, Al Arabi Channel, Al Ittijah TV, Al Nujaba TV, the Syrian TV, Al Kufiya Channel, Al Mamalaka channel, APA Agency, Sabq Agency 24, Bawaba 24, the Palestinian Media Forum, the Palestinian Forum for Democratic Dialogue and Development.
Yesterday another Israeli airstrike in Gaza destroyed Al Shorouk Tower, a 14-storey building that housed seven media outlets.
TRT Arabi’s office was among those hit while a reporter was live on air. Several people were injured.
Israel claims the civilian buildings it has targeted are being used by Hamas to store weapons.
Press groups and international watchdogs have come out to denounce Israel’s targeting of Palestinian and foreign media workers.
International media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Thursday condemned Israel’s “disproportionate use of force against journalists” who “should under no circumstances be treated as parties to the armed conflict”.
“Palestinian journalists, who were already struggling to work in the conditions imposed by the Israeli authorities, are once again on the front line when tension erupts,” said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk.
The International Federation of Journalists also issued a statement yesterday demanding “immediate international action to hold Israel accountable for its deliberate targeting of journalists and the media”.
The group’s General Secretary Anthony Bellanger offered solidarity to Palestinian journalists and emphasised that the international community “could not turn a blind eye to the systematic violations of human rights” taking place.
Palestinian Journalist Syndicate (PJS) stated that Israeli authorities have arrested at least 27 media workers in what they and other press groups have denounced as a clear attempt to silence media reporting on the ground.
“The PJS calls on all the guarantors of freedom of journalistic work, especially the United Nations and its organisations and the Red Cross to provide urgent field protection for journalists, and to activate Security Council Resolution 2222 so to obligate the occupation to implement and respect it.”
Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed 119 Palestinians - including 31 children - and injured 830 to date.