20 November 2012
Arab Journalists Demand UN to Open Formal Investigation into Israeli Attacks on Journalists in Gaza
Journalists' leaders representing 14 journalists' syndicates and associations in the Arab World currently gathered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, strongly condemn the attacks of the Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip and the deliberate targeting of journalists and media staff.
The participants, gathered to discuss press freedom in the Arab World and the protection given for killers of journalists and impunity, condemn and denounce the Israeli army's deliberate attack on the headquarters of media organizations in Gaza on the morning of the 18th of November 2012, in particular ‘Quds TV'. The attacks injured at least six journalists, including photographer Khader al-Zahar, who lost his leg as a result.
The participants believe that the Israeli army attacks on Palestinian journalists and media in Palestine, and Gaza in particular, is part of a systematic and deliberate plan used by the Israeli occupation authorities to cover up the heinous practices and killings and destruction committed against the Palestinian people.
The participants support the Palestinian journalists and media professionals in their plight and support the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in their demands to the United Nations to form an international commission of inquiry into the crimes of the occupation, to question and punish the perpetrators of these crimes and the violations against journalists and media organizations in the Gaza Strip.
Participants consider this attack to be a violation of international law and international humanitarian law, including the UN Security Council Resolution 1738, which criminalizes the intentional targeting of journalists in conflict zones. They further warn that failure to hold accountable and punish those responsible for this incident would be considered as providing a license from the international community to the Israeli authorities to keep on targeting the media and journalists.
The President of International Federation of Journalists, Jim Boumelha, who is participating in the conference, said: "We demand the United Nations to set up a committee to carry out a full investigation into these attacks and take action against the Israeli government. Moreover, the international community must respond immediately to this heinous act. The United Nations confirmed in particular the rights of journalists working in conflict areas and member states cannot stand by when one state acts in a reckless and dangerous manner."
The participants appealed to their colleagues in the international community of journalists and union members in the International Federation of Journalists to express their solidarity with their fellow Palestinian journalists and their right to work in a safe and free environment. The participants recommended the International Federation of Journalists to work in collaboration with member unions in the region to continue organizing training courses, professional safety trainings and awareness activities for journalists and media professionals.
Participating unions include: Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Jordan Press Association, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate, journalists Association of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain Journalists Association, Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, Omani Journalists Association, Sudanese Journalists Union, National Union of Somali Journalists, Algerian journalists' union, National Union of the Moroccan Press, Mauritanian Journalists Syndicate, Mauritanian Journalists' Association
For more information, contact the IFJ on + 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 134 countries