Jerusalem24 – 2022 witnessed a dangerous increase in violations against Palestinian journalists, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS).
In a press conference on 9 January, PJS said that these violations were inflicted mainly by Israeli forces and settlers, culminating with the assassination of Palestinian-American Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, and the direct targeting of journalists throughout the year.
55 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000, according to PJS figures.
“Dozens of journalists were targeted by the occupation forces and settlers during the last year, which [recorded] the highest number of serious attacks against Palestinian journalists, numbering 90,” PJS Board member Musa Alshaer tells Jerusalem24. “70% of that number was by live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets, and foam bullets.”
PJS findings published in a summary of its Press Freedom report 2022 show that 52 journalists were deliberately targeted by Israeli gunfire during the year, in addition to three injuries inflicted by shrapnel during Israel’s latest aggression on Gaza.
In addition, the summary reports that “316 crews were detained and prevented from working by the Israeli forces; the number of those affected by direct injuries from tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and spray of wastewater was 95; and 68 cases suffered from tear gas inhalation.”
40 journalists were arrested by Israeli forces, of which 17 were detained in Israeli prisons.
The majority of these violations were recorded in the city of Jerusalem. Alshaer describes Jerusalem as a “hotspot” which witnesses daily violations by Israeli settlers and the Israeli police, placing journalists who cover events in the occupied city “in the bullseye”.
“The Israeli authority tries to prevent the Palestinian narrative from going out to the international community,” says Alshaer. “The Israeli government wants to scare journalists from reporting and covering their violations, so they target journalists and stop their work.”
On 20 September 2022, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), and the PJS delivered a new legal complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as well as the shooting of journalist Ali Samoudi.
In April 2022, weeks before Abu Akleh’s killing, a coalition of the IFJ, the Palestinian Press Syndicate, and leading human rights lawyers had submitted their first complaint to the ICC over the “systematic targeting” of Palestinian journalists.
“Karim Khan the General prosecutor will be visiting Palestine,” says Alshaer. “We hope that the cases will find their place on the table of the ICC, and that the criminals will be held accountable.”
Khan announced on 6 December during a speech before the members of the ICC that he intends to visit Palestine in 2023.
PSJ will continue its work, says Alshaer, with the IFJ, human rights institutions, and local, Arab, and international communities “to stand with” Palestinian journalists, and follow up on the cases in the ICC.
Listen to the full interview on Wake Up Palestine.