The International Federation of Journalists today condemned Israel over targeting of journalists and called for a full investigation after reports that a cameraman injured in an exchange with Hamas gunmen in Palestine’s Gaza Strip was later shot in the legs while he lay injured.
“This is a vicious and brutal example of deliberate targeting of a journalist,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “The Israeli authorities must investigate this case and bring to justice those responsible.”
The incident occurred yesterday when Israeli troops and armoured vehicles crossed into the central Gaza Strip, killing 10 Palestinian militants, nine of them from the Islamist Hamas group. News agency reports said that 20 people, including children, were wounded.
Hospital officials said both legs of a television cameraman, Imad Ghanem, were amputated after he was shot. The Al-Jazeera satellite channel aired footage of the cameraman, who works for the Hamas-controlled Al-Aqsa television network, lying on the ground after being hit, with his camera thrown beside him. He could then be seen getting shot twice more while lying on the ground. Both his legs were amputated later in hospital where he was said to be in critical condition.
The IFJ condemned Israeli Defence Force representatives who tried to justify the attack by claiming the man was not a card-carrying reporter, and that his footage would probably be used for Hamas propaganda, not news. Another military source claimed that Israel did not consider a cameraman working for Hamas to be a journalist.
“This man was carrying a camera, not a gun,” said White. “He was no threat to Israeli forces. Israel appears to believe it is possible to kill any journalist with impunity so long as they can smear them as ‘propagandists.’”
White said the attack was in violation of international law and was a clear breach of the resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council at the end of last year condemning attacks on media in conflict zones and calling for an end to impunity.
IFJ concerns over Israeli policy concerning media were further heightened by news of a separate incident around the same incursion, when Israeli soldiers fired on a rooftop where several journalists, including a Reuters camera crew, were filming. No one was injured.
Click here for the Arabic version of this release.
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 115 countries worldwide