IFJ Emergency Appeal to Aid Colleagues Under Fire in Palestine

The Toll of Journalists Hurt and Killed

Below list was compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists and the IFJ

March 18, 2002. Amjad Al Alami (cameraman): Killed
March 14, 2002. Several Journalists: Attacked
March 13, 2002. Rafaelle Ciriello, Corriera della Sera: Killed
March 13, 2002. Al-Jazeera: Attacked
March 13, 2001. Tareq Abdel Jaber, Egyptian Television: Attacked
March 12, 2002. Several Journalists: Attacked
February 21, 2002. Voice of Palestine Radio and Television: Attacked
February 14, 2002. Sagui Bashan, Israel Television Channel 2: Attacked
February 13, 2002. All Media: Harassed
February 2, 2002. All Media: Harassed
January 19, 2002. Voice of Palestine Radio and Television: Attacked
January 3, 2002. Hebron Times: Censored
December 13, 2001. Voice of Palestine: Attacked
December 6, 2001. Awad Awad, Agence France-Presse: Censored
October 24, 2001. Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse:
Harassed, Censored October 12, 2001. All Media: Harassed
October 12, 2001. Alaa Saftawi, Al-Istiqlal: Imprisoned
October 9, 2001. All Media: Harassed
September 20, 2001. Al-Roa TV: Censored
September 14, 2001. Several Journalists: Detained
September 11, 2001. Several Journalists: Threatened, Harassed
August 13, 2001. Tarek Abdel Jaber and Abdel Nasser Abdoun, Egyptian
Television: Attacked July 31, 2001. Muhammad al-Bishawi, Najah Press Office,
IslamOnline.net: Killed July 31, 2001. Othman Ibrahim Qatanani, Al Quds, IslamOnline.net:
Killed July 29, 2001. Amar Awad and Mahfouz Abu Turk, Reuters; Atta Owiesat
and Mona Al-Kawatmi, free-lance; Rashid Safadi, Al-Jazeera: Attacked
July 29, 2001. Sakher Abu al-Aoun, Agence France-Presse: Attacked
July 9, 2001. Mazen Dana and Nael Shiyoukhi, Reuters; Hussam Abu Alan,
Agence France-Presse; Imad al-Said, Associated Press Television News: Attacked
June 26, 2001. Hazem Bader, Associated Press Television News: Attacked
May 29, 2001. Joshua Hammer and Gary Knight, Newsweek: Harassed
May 15, 2001. Bertrand Aguirre, TF1: Attacked
April 20, 2001. Layla Odeh, Abu Dhabi TV: Attacked
March 26, 2001. Amer Jabari, ABC News; Nael Shiyoukhi, Reuters; Hussam
Abu Alan, Agence France-Presse: Attacked
March 21, 2001. Al-Jazeera: Censored
March 10, 2001. Mazen Dana and Nael Shiyoukhi, Reuters; Hussam Abu Alan, Agence France-Presse: Attacked
March 8, 2001. Christine Hauser, Ahmed Bahadou, and Suhaib Salem, Reuters: Attacked
February 16, 2001. Al-Quds, Hayat al-Jadida, Al-Ayyam: Censored
February 15, 2001. Nablus TV: Attacked
February 11, 2001. Luay Abu Haikal, Reuters: Attacked; Hussam Abu Alan, Agence France-Presse: Attacked, Threatened
February 9, 2001. Laurent van der Stock, Newsweek: Attacked
February 8, 2001. Al-Hayat al-Jadida: Attacked
January 16, 2001. Majdi al-Arbid, free-lance: Legal Action
November 15, 2000. Al-Roa' TV: Harassed, Censored
November 12, 2000. Mazen Dana, Reuters: Attacked, Harassed
November 12, 2000. Abdel Rahim Qusini and Nasser Ishtayyeh, Reuters: Attacked
November 11, 2000. Yola Monakhov, The Associated Press: Attacked
October 31, 2000. Ben Wedeman, CNN: Attacked
October 31, 2000. Suleiman al-Shafei, Israeli Channel 2 TV: Harassed
October 23, 2000. Nasser Shiyoukhi, Associated Press: Harassed
October 21, 2000. Jacques-Marie Bourget, Paris-Match: Attacked
October 21, 2000. Bruno Stevens, Libération, Stern: Attacked
October 18, 2000. Patrick Baz, Agence France-Presse: Attacked
October 17, 2000. Mahfouz Abu Turk, Reuters: Attacked
October 12, 2000. Voice of Palestine: Attacked
October 12, 2000. Several Journalists: Attacked
October 11, 2000. Atta Oweisat, Zoom 77: Legal Action
October 9, 2000. Luc Delahaye, Magnum, Newsweek: Attacked
October 7, 2000. Walid Suleiman Amayreh, Akhbar al-Khalil: Imprisoned
October 4, 2000. Atta Owiesat, Zoom 77: Attacked
October 2, 2000. Mazen Dana, Reuters: Attacked
October 2, 2000. Louay Abu Haykel, Reuters: Attacked
October 1, 2000. Amer Jabari, ABC News: Attacked
September 29, 2000. Khaled Abu Aker, France 2, The New York Times: Attacked
September 29, 2000. Hazem Bader, The Associated Press: Attacked
Sepember 29, 2000. Mahfouz Abu Turk, Reuters: Attacked
September 29, 2000. Khaled Zeghari, Reuters: Attacked

What the IFJ has Done

April 1st 2002: The International Federation of Journalists has called for Israel to lift its ban on reporters covering the military intervention in the West Bank town of Ramallah, warning that censorship in the conflict will not bring peace "but only lead to more ignorance, rumour and fear."

After a violent weekend in which at least three reporters were injured, a Palestinian radio station was taken over and a journalist alleged Israeli troops used him as a "human shield" in a gun battle, the IFJ says media staff are in more danger than ever.

"People who speak of democracy and then impose censorship to avoid public scrutiny make a mockery of the language of peace and human rights," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ, the world's largest journalists group, which represents journalists in both the Palestinian and Israeli communities.

The IFJ says that both sides in the conflict have made the media a battleground. "We have many reports of indiscipline among Israeli soldiers in dealing with media staff, but poor levels of professionalism in Palestinian media continue to enrage political leaders and add to fears that more attacks on media will follow," said Aidan White.

The IFJ says that a Palestinian freelance cameraman, Carlos Handel, working for Egyptian Nile TV was shot in the mouth on Friday while travelling through an area where Israelis and Palestinians were fighting. He was taken to a hospital in serious condition. A second cameraman, who was also riding in the van, suffered a less serious wound.

On Sunday, Anthony Shadid, a Washington-based Boston Globe reporter, was shot in the shoulder while standing in the doorway of a Ramallah shop. Shadid was said to be conscious and in stable condition in a private Arab hospital in Ramallah.

The IFJ protest follows the decision by Israel to declare Ramallah a closed military zone and to remove journalists. The Foreign Press Association in Israel also issued a protest, saying media must be allowed to cover a major story.

The latest Israeli invasion follows a string of Palestinian attacks that Killed 30 Israelis over three days. Israeli soldiers are accused by Palestinians of closing down media and preventing circulation of newspapers. Israeli troops entered the offices of the Voice of Palestine radio and forced it to stop broadcasting on Saturday, said Yousef Qazaz, the general manager of the radio. Military sources confirmed the report.

"Media intolerance only makes matters worse," said Aidan White. The IFJ says that Israel must lift the obstacles to free reporting and end all intimidation of Palestinian journalists and media. "The cycle of censorship and violence must end and professionalism restored on all sides."

Israeli forces expelled a CBS News television crew from Ramallah on Monday as troops continued to occupy the West Bank city and search for militants.

TODAY: In downtown Bethlehem, an armored personnel carrier fired several rounds at the Star Hotel where about two dozens journalists covering the incursions are based, said Iyad Moghrabi, a cameraman on assignment for Associated Press Television News. Moghrabi said a cameraman for the Arab satellite TV station Al Jazeera was lightly injured in the head by shrapnel.

March 2002: The killing of an Italian journalist and the wounding of a French and Egyptian colleagues in the Palestinian territories on March 13th.

The previous day, Israeli soldiers fired upon a group of 40 foreign journalists covering the events in the Palestinian territories. The IFJ has protested several times in recent months over Israeli targeting of Palestinian broadcasting buildings and actions to derecognise the status of Palestinian journalists.

The Killed journalist, Raffaele Ciriello, who was a freelance photographer on assignment for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, was Killed in a hail of bullets coming from an Israeli tank in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Another freelance journalist working for French media was severely injured in the incident.

Ciriello is the third journalist to die since the new Intifada was launched in September 2000. The other victims were Palestinian journalists Mohammad Bishawi and Othman Qatani, both Killed during the shelling of a building on 31 July 2001. "We send a message of the deepest sympathy to our Italian colleagues," said Aidan White, "this tragic event reinforces our demands that safety of journalists and respect for their rights is made a global priority in conflict zones."

The IFJ carried out, with the support of the European Union, risk-awareness training for around 100 journalists in the West Bank and Gaza last month. In view of the continuing crisis, the IFJ intends to establish a Safety Centre for journalists in the Territories. But the IFJ warns that while journalists can do much to minimise risks, it is impossible to protect them from ill-disciplined military actions.

"We insist that this incident and earlier reports of firing on journalists are properly investigated and a full report is made public," said Aidan White. The IFJ affiliated Palestinian Syndicate of Journalists also condemned the killing and sent a message of solidarity to international journalists.

Unconfirmed reports of a Palestinian cameraman, Amjad Al Alami, Killed in crossfire on March 18th.

February 2002: TV Bombing: IFJ Warns Israel Over "Making the world a dangerous place for journalists"

February saw the total destruction of broadcast facilities in Gaza.

In a letter to the Israeli Prime Minister (attached), the IFJ says that attacks on public broadcasting facilities in Ramallah and Gaza city were not justified and "reinforce our strong belief that Israel is making the world a more dangerous place for journalists."

"We are anxious to improve levels of safety for both Palestinian and Israeli staff," says White in his appeal to the Prime Minister. "However, the policy of your government and military strategists compromises the validity of these humanitarian objective." White last week visited the destroyed premises of the Voice of Palestine in Ramallah and met with Israel's press information director.

The IFJ says Israel's destruction of Palestine Broadcasting offices and equipment continues an unacceptable trend of targeting of media which began after NATO's 1999 bombing of the RTS broadcasting station in Belgrade, in which 16 media staff died. This clear precedent is now being followed in the Middle East, in the conflict between India and Pakistan, and the unexplained destruction of the Kabul office of Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera in the Afghanistan bombing campaign.

The IFJ also deplored the Israeli attack at the weekend on the headquarters of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions, an organisation affiliated to the International Confederation of Trade Unions. The building, which was erected with the support of the international labour movement, was severely damaged.

The IFJ says that military assaults on legitimate civil institutions like trade unions have nothing to do with the fight against terrorism. "Such attacks," said White "damage the functioning of legitimate, democratic civil institutions; movements that are essential in any future lasting peace for the region."


Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister
Government of Israel
Fax: + 972 2 651 26 31

February 21st 2002

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

The horrifying events in Israel and the neighbouring Palestinian areas in recent days have cost a great deal of suffering and loss of life. On behalf of journalists everywhere, the International Federation of Journalists expresses its deep sympathies to the victims, their families and their communities.

At the same time, we regret to say that the political strategies at work in this conflict themselves may inadvertently contribute to additional suffering, not just in this region, but in other parts of the world.

In particular, the IFJ, the world's largest journalists' group, is worried about the implications of the systematic destruction by the Israeli Defence Force of the infrastructure of the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation in Ramallah and, yesterday, in Gaza City.

We know that the broadcasts of the Palestine official media have infuriated many Israelis; that is not surprising given that they tell the story of this conflict from a clear Palestinian perspective. However, we do not accept that such anger justifies the military targeting of public broadcasting offices and installations.

From the perspective of an organisation that records daily the tragic consequences of targeting civilian institutions, particularly in the media field, we believe that one risk of such attacks is to endanger the lives of trade unionists and journalists elsewhere. The attacks on Ramallah and Gaza media reinforce our strong belief that Israel is making the world a more dangerous place for journalists.

We also deplore the attack a few days ago on the headquarters of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions; an organisation affiliated to the International Confederation of Trade Unions, our partner in the global unions family. The building, which was erected with the support of the international labour movement, was severely damaged. I am sure that you will agree that military assaults on legitimate civil institutions like trade unions have nothing to do with the fight against terrorism. Such attacks, instead, damage the functioning of legitimate, democratic civil institutions; movements that are essential in any future lasting peace for the region.

This is particularly true for media institutions, something that we raised in a meeting last week with the Director of the Government Press Office in Jerusalem.

It is well known that, in these cases, the attacks on Palestinian broadcasting are of no military or strategic significance. Indeed, broadcasting is usually resumed a short time after the destruction of the premises.

Nor are we convinced by allegations that the broadcasting breached international norms of freedom of expression by active incitement to violence. Such allegations have to be properly tested. In these cases they were not.

Until 1999, when NATO bombed the public broadcasting system in Belgrade, a tragedy in which 16 media staff were Killed, the military targeting of public media in conflict was virtually unknown.

However, this precedent has since been used to justify other attacks in the Palestinian areas, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Your officials have directly quoted the NATO action to justify recent attacks.

For the first time, we see the routine identification of media installations and media personnel as legitimate military targets, even though this is in defiance of international law, which guarantees the rights of media staff and journalists as non-combatants.

The symbolism of the Israeli attacks on Palestinian broadcasting may serve to strengthen morale in some quarters, but for us it raises the prospect of further attacks and deaths in other regional conflicts such as those in Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Colombia, Central Africa, the Philippines, and a handful of other places, where declared and undeclared conflicts cause great suffering.

We fear this cycle of violence will intensify with the targeting of journalists and media workers, as one side or another seek to justify their actions by precedents being set by NATO, Israel and others.

Our aim is not to take sides in any of these conflicts, but to underscore the need for protection of journalists and media staff. We have in the past few days carried out vital risk-awareness training for media personnel in the Palestinian areas. We are anxious to provide technical materials to improve levels of safety to both Palestinian and Israeli staff. However, the policy of your government and military strategists compromises the validity of these humanitarian objectives.

We ask you to reconsider this policy of targeting media. We ask you to consider whether attacks on civil institutions - including the trade union movement - will contribute to building peace and stability or whether, instead, they will reinforce resentment and reinforce a culture of violence within civil society.

Strategies that put in peril the lives of civilians and that do not, in the end, have a military or strategic justification should be abandoned.

I believe strongly that Israel, as a country committed to the democratic process and the defence of human rights, should not in any way support the notion that it is legitimate to attack media and journalism even when we disagree strongly with the opinions and sentiments they express.

With Kind Regards,
General Secretary