Israel’s attacks on Palestinian journalists

Proposed by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS)

The World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists, meeting in Angers from June 7th-10th 2016,

condemning the killing of 19 journalists and the wounding of scores of others during the 52-day long bombing of Gaza by the Israeli army in July 2014;

condemning military and government spokesperson for the Israeli army who justify their attacks on media houses as “terror targets”, and making no distinction between journalists and combatants;

reaffirming that all journalists working in Gaza and the West Bank, whether local or foreign, must be afforded the same civilian protections under Article 51 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions;

deploring the violent attack by the Israeli military on a peaceful demonstration organized by the PJS to mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd where security forces charged demonstrators firing stun grenades which injured several journalists including Abdelnasser Najjar, PJS President and member of the IFJ Executive Committee shot on both legs. Congress regrets that the National Federation of Israeli Journalists failed to condemn the Israeli aggression against Palestinian journalists, or to express solidarity with the PJS;

further condemning violations by Israeli authorities such as harassment, restriction of movement, prohibition from travel or prevention from covering an event, taking place almost daily as fundamental breach of journalists’ rights. Three radio stations in Hebron “Manbar Al-Houria, Sawt Al-Khalil and Dream Radio were ransacked by Israeli forces, their equipment destroyed before being closed down without a due process by order of the military commander accusing them of incitement;

applauding the global campaign waged by the PJS to defend journalists in Palestine including the global petition signed by tens of thousands of people in support of the right of journalists to freedom of movement, and the powerful intervention by PJS president Abdelnasser Najjar at the 29th session of the Human Rights Committee in June 2015 during the debate on the report by the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict;

Congress reaffirms its view that:

  • Freedom of movement is a central core of independent journalism and, in restricting such a right, Israeli authorities are in breach on international covenants and the right to report;
  • Cases of directly and intentionally striking journalists are war crimes under international humanitarian law.

Congress instructs the Executive Committee to:

  1. continue campaigning for Israel to recognise the IFJ press cards when carried by Palestinian journalists;
  2. organise the widest international campaign to demand an end to impunity for attacks against journalists in Palestine and that the Israeli forces who carried out these appalling murders and attacks answer for their crimes and face the full weight of justice;
  3. give full support to the PJS in taking up such cases to national and international tribunals;
  4. seek from the Israeli government assurances that, in future, its military forces will abide by all international instruments relating to journalists, including Article 51 of the Geneva Conventions.