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ICC: Complaint alleges Israel systematically targets Palestinian journalists

Complaint was filed on behalf of four journalists killed or maimed by Israeli snipers while reporting on Gaza protests
Journalists in the rubble of Al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza after Israeli air strikes razed the building, on 15 May 2021 (AFP)

Israel is systematically targeting journalists to prevent coverage of its human rights violations, say lawyers in a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The lawyers are working on behalf of four Palestinian journalists - Ahmed Abu Hussein, Yaser Murtaja, Muath Armaneh and Nedal Eshtayeh - who were killed or maimed by Israeli snipers while reporting from demonstrations in Gaza.

Three of the journalists were shot during protests in 2018 and 2019; Eshtayeh was shot in May 2015.

'Israel systematically targets, attacks, maims and kills journalists to prevent accountability for its human rights violations'

- Tayab Ali, solicitor at Bindmans 

They were wearing vests marked PRESS when they were shot, and are among 46 Palestinian journalists killed in Israel since 2000 without any accountability, their legal team said.

“Israel systematically targets, attacks, maims and kills journalists to prevent accountability for its human rights violations,” said Tayab Ali, a partner at London-based Bindmans, one of the law firms involved. “This cannot be allowed to continue.”

Ali said the complaint was submitted “with the aim of finally ending Israel’s impunity and allowing the free press to properly and safely hold the Israeli authorities to account”.

It alleges that, along with systematically targeting journalists working in Palestine, Israel has failed to investigate their murders.

It also cites the bombing of several towers that housed media offices, including those of Alam News, Al Hayat Newspapers, Mayadeen Media and Al Bawaba 24, in Gaza City this May. 

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Bindmans, along with barristers from Doughty Street Chambers, filed the complaint on behalf of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians have been closely involved.

Anthony Bellanger, the IFJ's general secretary, said in a statement on Wednesday: "The targeting of journalists and media organisations in Palestine violates the right to life and freedom of expression. These crimes must be fully investigated. This systematic targeting must stop. The journalists and their families deserve justice."

MEE has sought a comment from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.