Murdering the messengers

Israel is deliberately assassinating journalists to conceal its crimes

Journalists and camera operators are careful, when covering wars and other dangerous events, to wear helmets and bullet proof vests with the word ‘PRESS’ emblazoned on the front and back. This is meant to protect them by identifying them as members of this noble profession. The established rule is that this should ensure they are treated as neutral parties and kept safe. But not when it comes the Israeli occupation state. It treats the’PRESS’ label as a sign that its wearer should be immediately targeted and killed.

Two weeks ago, we mourned the loss of our colleagues reporter Farah Omar and cameraman Rabie al-Mimari from al-Mayadeen channel while they were covering Israeli shelling of villages in southern Lebanon. A few days earlier, we lost Reuters photographer Issam Abdallah when a convoy he was travelling along with ten other colleagues was hit. Nine of them were injured by shrapnel from Israeli missiles and drones that were monitoring their movements and deliberately targeted them.

I raise this painful issue because of the wounding on Friday of Al Jazeera correspondent Wael al-Dahdouh and the murder of cameraman Samer Abu-Dagga in a deliberate Israeli missile strike in the Gaza Strip on Friday. I use the term ‘deliberate’ because of the many precedents in which the Israeli occupation army has assassinated journalists, not least the much-loved Shireen Abu-Aqleh.
Wael al-Dahdouh became an icon of the profession when his wife and several of his children and grandchildren were killed when his home was targeted by an Israeli airstrike to intimidate him. Despite the enormity of the tragedy, he continued working to cover the Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip with his usual dedication. He moved from the north to the south in search of safety, and perhaps a few more months or years of life to continue carrying out his mission among the bombs and bullets. This time, he survived, sustaining only moderate injuries. We can only hope for his speedy recovery, and for mercy on the soul of his colleague Samer Abu-Dagga.

Israel, whose army has claimed some 20,000 lives and 55,000 injured and destroyed half the homes in the Gaza Strip since it started its war of extermination 70 days ago, comfortably occupies the top spot globally in terms of killing, persecuting, and silencing journalists to cover up its crimes against the Lebanese and Palestinian people.
The Israeli army has assassinated 89 journalists since the start of the war on the Gaza Strip and arrested eight, according to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor. It is unlikely it will stop at that number given its determination to terrorise members of the profession in order to cover up the facts and conceal its massacres and the images of the broken bodies of its victims.

No previous war in recent history has seen such intense bombardment of hospitals, schools, mosques, and churches, with patients and newborn babies thrown out onto the streets, and all supplies of medicine, food, water, and power cut off from innocent civilians. This raging Israeli war on the Gaza Strip has set new records, with the support and direct participation of the US, the leader of the free world and guardian of human rights worldwide.
The bullets and missiles will not prevent our colleagues in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon from continuing to tear down the masks, expose Israel’s cruel and hate-filled bloodlust, and convey the truth in all its horrific detail to every part of the world.

Nobody expressed it better than the journalist Salman al-Bashir. He threw down his helmet and tore the ‘PRESS’ labels of his bulletproof vest, saying they no longer have any value in the eyes of an enemy that has no morals or human values and delights in the murder of journalists.

With heroic truth-tellers like these, we are surely on a path to victory.

Murdering the messengers

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