The occupied Palestinian territories continue to be one of the most dangerous places for journalists to operate thanks to Israel’s steadfast aggression against the media.
The Turkish government and the Turkish Journalists' Association have strongly condemned Israel’s attack on the Anadolu Agency (AA) press office in Gaza.
The attack came on Saturday as Israel fired hundreds of rockets into the besieged territory it has been occupying for decades.
Anadolu Agency reported no injuries to its staff. However, the building was razed to the ground as at least five rockets struck the building.
Israel would have known the exact coordinates of the AA building, as most media organisations provide the exact location of their institutions in order to avoid being “inadvertently” struck.
This is not the first time Israel has bombed media organisations. Al Jazeera’s offices were also attacked by Israel in 2014. Such attacks are part of a broader Israeli attempt to silence journalists from reporting.
The day the Al Aqsa channel was reduced to rubble
In November 2018, Israel bombed and destroyed Al Aqsa channel, which was affiliated with Hamas. The International Federation of Journalists condemned the attack, as well the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.
Israel gave the Gaza-based news organisation moments to evacuate before it destroyed their operations.
Journalists as targets
Israel continues to be one of the most dangerous places for journalists to operate.
Between 2000 and 2018, 18 journalists have been killed in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The 2014 Gaza War, which left more than 2,000 people dead, was one of the deadliest years for Palestinian journalists. In that Israeli assault on Gaza, four Palestinian journalists were killed, making it the deadliest year since 2000.
More recently, a UN Human Rights report published on February 2019 and tasked with looking at demonstrations held in Gaza between March 30 and December 31, 2018 found that Israel had targeted Palestinian journalists deliberately. Some of the victims had to have their limbs amputated as a result.
Israel killed two journalists and injured more than 90 others in 2018.
The Palestinian information ministry said that there are 19 Palestinian journalists behind bars in Israel.
One war Israel can’t win
Israel has proved an efficient, if not brutal, opponent in dealing with Palestinians and, in particular, Palestinian journalists.
Foreign journalists have also complained about Israeli attempts to influence and intimidate their reporting.
When conflict between Israel and the Palestinians flares up, it becomes a source of global attention and news. There is always a wide disparity of force and a higher loss of civilian life on the Palestinian side.
In the past, the Israeli government has been accused of inciting violence towards journalists trying to cover Israeli bombardment of Gaza and other occupied Palestinian territories.
In one example, a BBC Arabic journalist, Firas Khatib, was assaulted live on TV while trying to report on the Gaza war of 2014, while another CNN journalist was threatened with the destruction of her crew’s car if she said a “wrong word.”