The conflict between Israel and Hamas has claimed the lives of 36 journalists to date, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). This is the deadliest period for journalists in the region since 1992. Among the victims is Palestinian journalist Mohammed Abu Hatab.
The conflict has been raging for more than a month and has taken a devastating toll, with more than 10,000 lives lost. Journalists risk their lives covering this bloody battle. The shocking statistics speak volumes. According to CPJ, at least 36 journalists have been killed through last Saturday, including 31 Palestinian, four Israeli and one Lebanese. In addition, at least eight journalists were injured, three are missing, and another eight have been arrested. These figures reflect only the confirmed cases recorded by the committee.
The most recent tragedy was the death of journalist Mohammed Abu Hatab (49), who died on November 2. According to Palestinian authorities, he was hit by an Israeli airstrike near his home in Khan Younis. This attack killed Abu Hatab and 11 of his relatives, including his wife, son and brother. Israel denies any responsibility for this deadly toll and claims to have been unaware of any military activity by its forces near the site in question.
Many fellow journalists were present at his funeral. Some of them wore the recognizable dark blue vests with the print ‘PRESS’, which were specially designed to protect journalists in conflict areas. Salman Al-Bashir, a fellow journalist, covered the funeral and initially wore the ‘PRESS’ vest. But as he reported, he slowly took off his vest and removed his helmet. This act seemed to symbolically emphasize that the protective clothing was apparently inadequate to protect journalists in such dangerous conditions. He couldn’t hide his sadness.
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On October 10, three more Palestinian journalists were killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City. This area is home to numerous media companies, including The Independent, Al-Jazeera and the Palestinian News Agency. Just three days later, a journalist from the Reuters news agency lost his life. According to researchers from the same news agency, the attack was carried out from the direction of Israel. In response, Israel sent letters to Reuters and the French news agency AFP. It stated that they cannot guarantee the safety of journalists. “Hamas is hiding in Gaza near civilians and journalists,” Israel wrote.
On the Israeli side, journalists have also fallen victim to this conflict. The most losses were suffered on October 7, the day the war started. Shai Regev, an editor for the Maariv newspaper, was at the Israeli festival where people were being murdered and kidnapped. Journalist Ayelet Arnin from Kan broadcaster was also present. Yaniv Zohar, a photographer for the Israel Hayom newspaper, lost his life in a kibbutz.
The losses of these journalists have set international organizations in motion. The International Federation of Journalists is demanding a clear commitment from Israelis to do everything they can to prevent the number of journalists killed from rising further. And journalist organization Reporters Without Borders has taken a step by turning to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and demanding an investigation into war crimes against journalists.
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