Ref: 44 /2021
Date: 2 June 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen:
- Secretary-General of the United Nations
- UN Coordinator for the Peace Process
- Secretary-General of the International Federation of Journalists
- Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
- UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory
- European Union
Subject: A briefing on the killing of journalist “Youssef Abu Hussein” in an Israeli raid, and more than (255) violations committed by the occupation authorities against journalists and media professionals in the occupied Palestinian territories during May 2021
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights “ICSPR” highly appreciates your keenness and efforts to intervene to stop violations against journalists and media professionals around the world, including those working in the occupied Palestinian territories in accordance with the provisions and rules of human rights law and international humanitarian law.
With reference to the above subject, we are addressing you once again within the framework of our vigorous follow-up as a national human rights institution, to inform you of the violations of media freedoms and the rights of journalists in the Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza Strip during the period of aggression.
The military attacks resulted in systematic and widespread violations, where the occupation authorities killed (253) citizens, including (67) children, (39) women, (19) the elderly, a journalist, and (2) doctors, and injured (1948) others, of whom, (450) children and (295) women -according to the preliminary estimates of the Palestinian Ministry of Health-, in addition to the severe damage to homes, towers, housing units, economic and tourist facilities, infrastructure, the communications sector, facilities of the Ministry of Health, mosques, places of worship, clinics, medical laboratories, journalists’ offices and press crews and their headquarters, in the framework of a widespread and systematic Israeli attack that violates the minimum provisions of human rights covenants and international humanitarian law related to the protection of civilians, civilian facilities and journalists.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
According to data recently issued by the Palestinian Journalists Support Committee, the number of violations of media and press freedoms and rights during May 2021 is the highest since the beginning of this year, after the Israeli occupation targeted journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories, which amounted to (255) violations in all Palestinian territories, and the number of violations of Palestinian content amounted to more than (93), through restricting publication, banning and closing hundreds of journalists’ accounts.
- With regard to the occupation’s violations of the rights of media professionals in the Gaza Strip during the recent aggression, the Journalists Support Committee documented 101 violation, as the occupation killed the 33-year-old journalist Youssef Abu Hussein as a result of destroying his house while he was inside it in the Sheikh Radwan area, and injured (13) other journalists as a result of direct bombing, or during the destruction of their homes, or during practicing their work in covering the military aggression on civilians. The data also indicates that the occupation authorities have destroyed about (59) media headquarters after bombing the residential towers in which these headquarters and media offices are located.
- With regard to the occupation’s violations of the rights of journalists in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, the data also indicates that the occupation authorities committed about (154) violations against journalists during the month of May 2021, distributed as follows: More than (70) injuries were monitored, including targeting them with live bullets and rubber bullets, sound and poisonous gas bombs, and severely beating them, including female journalists, and spraying dozens of journalists with wastewater, to prevent them from covering, especially in occupied Jerusalem and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The data also indicates that the occupation authorities arrested, detained and summoned more than 16 journalists, and later extended an administrative detention of 10 journalists. In addition to (4) cases of breaking into the homes of journalists and writers in the occupied city of Jerusalem, in addition to monitoring (42) cases of prevention from coverage and professional work of journalists, and cases of destroying a car, equipment, cameras and phones owned by journalists.
In addition to the aforementioned series of violations against journalists in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, the occupation authorities incited the dismissal of a journalist from his job, where the French news agency arbitrarily dismissed journalist “Nasser Abu Bakr” from his job, after more than 20 years of his work in the aforementioned agency. And according to the data available in this regard, the aforementioned journalist “Abu Bakr” has been subjected to a systematic campaign of harassment over the past five years to force him to resign and leave the job.
- With regard to fighting Palestinian content, the data indicates that the administration of social media platforms, under pressure from the occupation authorities, has blocked and restricted hundreds of accounts of journalists and media institutions, which owners used them to reveal and document the recent Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in the occupied city of Jerusalem and the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the aggression on the Gaza Strip, where (93) violations were detected as a part of the fight against Palestinian content, which is in contrast to the lowest human charters that granted journalists a special status and protection.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We hope that you will intervene now and exert more efforts to ensure that Palestinian journalists in the Occupied Territories enjoy the legal protection for journalists and media professionals, in a manner that ensures the stop of Israeli threats and crimes against them, including holding the perpetrators of these violations accountable.
The threat continues, and tomorrow it might be too late. Journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories deserve to work with and for them, as all of them aspire to an international role that guarantees them the enjoyment of their internationally guaranteed rights, as non-derogable rights, in line with the principles of international covenants, and pursuant to the fact that delaying justice is injustice.
Lawyer Salah Atti
Chairman of ICSPR