Media offices have been bombed and Palestinian and international journalists arrested, beaten, and threatened by Israeli forces amid escalating violence in Gaza, said the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in a statement today.
"Since the beginning of the (recent) events in Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities have arrested at least 27 media workers in what the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) and other press groups denounced as a clear attempt to silence media reporting on the ground.
"The IFJ stands in solidarity with the PJS and all Palestinian and foreign media workers targeted and demands immediate international action to hold Israel accountable for its deliberate targeting of journalists and the media," it said in a statement.
At least 67 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, according to the enclave's health ministry. Seven people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.
The IFJ said that on the night of May 11, the Israeli military bombed the Al-Jawhara tower, located in Gaza, which hosts the offices of 13 media institutions and NGOs.
"The PJS said the attack was deliberate and targeted. There were no injuries as journalists evacuated their offices after the Israeli army warned some of the media that the building would be bombed.
"However, media organisations lost their equipment," it said, calling for the Israeli government to compensate the media for their financial losses.
The IFJ said the offices of the media organisations - the National Information Agency, Palestine Newspaper, Al-Arabi Channel, Al-Ittijah TV, Al-Nujaba TV, 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 - were completely destroyed.
"The offices of Al-Jazeera TV, adjacent to the targeted building, were also damaged while the Spanish news agency EFE's correspondent in Jerusalem said on Twitter that their correspondent in Gaza had to flee its office at Al-Jawhara tower after a warning message from the Israeli military," it said.
In addition to the attacks against media organisations in Gaza, the PJS reported that Israeli forces arrested photojournalist Hazem Nasser in the West Bank on May 12.
The PJS said in a statement: “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 as to obligate the occupation to implement and respect it.”
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We stand in solidarity with all the Palestinian journalists and the PJS during these hard moments.
"The international community cannot turn a blind eye to the systematic violations of human rights and the deliberate targeting of media and journalists. Urgent actions must be taken to hold those responsible for these crimes.”
In December 2020, the IFJ submitted two complaints to the UN Special Rapporteurs over Israel’s systematic targeting of journalists working in Palestine and its failure to properly investigate killings of media workers which the complaint stated were “a violation of the right to life, freedom of expression, and in breach of international law, and may amount to war crimes.”