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Israel Hamas WarNewsIsrael

Journalists targeted by Israel in Gaza, new investigation claims

A four-month investigation by more than a dozen media organisations has found evidence that Israel has targeted journalists and media workers in Gaza.
Ruby Kraner-Tucci
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Man in press vest

Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, more than 100 journalists and media workers have been killed (Noam Galai/Getty Images).

Published: 1 July 2024

Last updated: 1 July 2024

A collaborative investigation by 13 media outlets has found incriminating evidence that Israeli forces have deliberately targeted journalists during its war with Hamas in Gaza.

The investigation calls into question Israel’s denial that it does not target civilians, including journalists.

More than 100 journalists and media workers have died in Gaza since the war began, making it the deadliest conflict for journalists since the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) started collecting data in 1992.

The investigation also chronicled cases of injuries and threats in both Gaza and the West Bank.

The Gaza Project – which officially launched last week – brings together the work of 50 journalists from 13 international news outlets including The Guardian, +972 Magazine, Local Call, Paper Trail Media, Le Monde, AFP, Radio France, ARIJ, Der Spiegel, Der Standard, ZDF and Tamedia-Group.

The media organisations have partnered with Forbidden Stories, a not-for-profit and global network of journalists that investigates restrictions on media freedoms, which coordinated The Gaza Project and is hosting the findings online.

"We were able to achieve a very devastating account of what is happening in the Gaza Strip against journalists."

Palestinian journalist Walid Batrawi

The investigation found at least 14 journalists in Gaza were killed, injured or allegedly targeted while wearing press vests and so clearly identifiable as non-combatants. It also found that at least six buildings housing media offices were destroyed.

Other journalists were killed in their homes or in drone strikes.

The Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified by 196 countries including Israel, stipulates that attacking journalists or their equipment if they are not taking part in combat is a violation of international law.

Palestinian journalist Basel Khair Al-Din believes he was targeted by a drone strike in Gaza while wearing a clearly-marked press vest.

“Whereas this press vest was supposed to identify and protect us, according to international laws, international conventions and the Geneva Conventions, it is now a threat to us,” he told The Gaza Project. “It’s this vest that almost got us killed, as has happened to so many of our fellow journalists and media workers.”

The IDF has rarely provided specific answers about the circumstances of the deaths of media workers in Gaza, but has repeatedly stated that it “does not deliberately shoot at civilians, including journalists”.

The Gaza Project consolidates the testimonies of over 120 witnesses in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, which were collected through remote interviews, and consultations with 25 ballistics, weapons and audio experts.

Some of the testimonies involve first-hand accounts from journalists who survived attacks, such as Abdallah Al-Hajj, a photojournalist for the Jerusalem-based Al Quds newspaper who was a victim of an aerial strike while he was capturing camera drone footage in Gaza.

“I put my drone away and headed toward some fishermen. The second I asked for the price [of their fish], I was targeted. I was unconscious for three days,” said Al-Hajj, who had both legs amputated above his knees because of the explosion that killed two other people.

The Gaza Project also reviewed the circumstances of each journalist death in Gaza, using satellite imagery and other digital evidence to determine the precise position and chronology of the events. The international team worked together using a collaborative digital workspace to gather data and classify the incidents into an archive.

"This project was especially important for us, as an act of solidarity with those journalists who paid with their lives, to show the world what is going on in Gaza."

Israeli journalist Yuval Abraham

Palestinian journalist Walid Batrawi said the displacement of journalists and their families coupled with the communication blockage – foreign journalists are only allowed to enter Gaza on escorted trips with the IDF – was challenging.

“When we started this project back in February, I had doubts about how far we would be able to go with these investigations, but we were able to achieve a very devastating account of what is happening in the Gaza Strip against journalists,” Batrawi said.

Israeli journalist Yuval Abraham believes The Gaza Project not only communicates the importance of journalism as an act of public interest, but it also stands as a symbol of peace between Israelis and Palestinians who are critical of the Netanyahu government.

This project was especially important for us, as an act of solidarity with those journalists who paid with their lives, to show the world what is going on in Gaza,” said Abraham, who is based in Jerusalem and works for +972 Magazine and Local Call, a publication run by Palestinian and Israeli journalists.

While numbers vary, preliminary CPJ estimates show that 103 Palestinian, two Israeli and three Lebanese journalists have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war so far, bringing the total number of journalist deaths to 108 in less than a year.

The Gaza Project can be accessed online.

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About the author

Ruby Kraner-Tucci

Ruby Kraner-Tucci is a journalist and assistant editor of TJI. Her writing has appeared in The Age, Time Out, Law Society Journal and Dumbo Feather Magazine. She previously reported on the charity sector as a journalist for Pro Bono News and undertook internships at The Australian Jewish News and Broadsheet Media.

Comments3

  • Avatar of Zephaniah Waks

    Zephaniah Waks5 July at 12:36 am

    afp is one of the “trusted” sources mentioned in the article, so how (un)surprising to read in https://www.timesofisrael.com/88-year-old-grandmother-of-israeli-mk-beaten-in-france-called-dirty-jew ‘Haskel also published an opinion piece in the Causeur, a French news magazine, in which she called for an end to “state-run anti-Israeli propaganda” that she claimed is led by the Agence France Presse (AFP) news service and French public media, and that according to her is feeding antisemitism’

  • Avatar of Melinda Jones

    Melinda Jones2 July at 11:14 am

    As we know, where there is smoke there is fire. That means we should expect that some aspect of this report is true. However during this war there have been a number of claims that Israel has committed war crimes or acted in breach of international law. Every one has proved to be propagandistic at best, antisemitism at worst. So forgive me if I’m skeptics. In dealing with matters out of Gaza the assumption must be that they are false until proven otherwise. An allegation is just that. So let’s be prepared to take this seriously, but only when it is known to be demonstrably true.

  • Avatar of Zephaniah Waks

    Zephaniah Waks2 July at 08:40 am

    “brings together the work of 50 journalists from 13 international news outlets”: & we all know how unbiased & truthful the world media organisations, including our own abc & sbs, have been in their coverage…

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