New York, January 6, 2009--The Israeli military must put an end to targeting Palestinian media in the Gaza Strip and allow international journalists to enter Gaza to cover the conflict, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On Monday, the 10th day of its
military campaign, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fired two missiles into the
offices of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala newsweekly, according to
multiple regional news agencies, including Al-Quds Press and the Kuwaiti News Agency. The attack destroyed all of
the paper's equipment and nearly all the furniture in the headquarters of the
newspaper, which is located in a residential building in a densely populated
No employees were killed or injured in the attack, which took place at night, although other residents of the building received superficial shrapnel wounds, said Afifa, adding that structural damage has forced the residents of the building to abandon it.
Within minutes of that bombing, the IDF also bombed al-Rantisi printers, the commercial printing press that publishes Al-Risala, according to local news reports. There were no casualties in that attack either; the printing press was not in operation at the time. The newspaper has not appeared on newsstands since December 30 because the staff has been unable to get to work due to the fighting, according to Afifa.
CPJ's calls and e-mails to Israeli military spokeswoman Major Avital Leibovich and the IDF North America Desk for comment were not immediately returned.
The IDF also continued to sporadically take over the frequencies of Gaza-based Sawt al-Sha`b radio and Al-Aqsa television, with Israeli military propaganda calling on Palestinians to abandon Hamas, according to Agence France-Press and local news reports.
According to the English-language
service of al-Jazeera, one of its crews
was detained for hours on January 3 in Kissufim, a border-crossing area between
"International law provides unambiguous
protections for journalists, even during military operations, and media
installations can only be targeted if they serve a military function," said CPJ
Executive Director Joel Simon. "We call on the IDF to cease the targeting of
Palestinian media in
On December 27,
"To grant permission to merely eight journalists out of a
400-plus-strong media corps in
On December 29, the IDF shelled the headquarters of Al-Aqsa television, destroying it entirely. The station continues to broadcast from a remote location.
In a letter
sent to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week, CPJ demanded an
explanation for the targeting of Al-Aqsa and called on
Editor's note: Paragraph two has been corrected to indicate that
Monday was the 10th day of the military campaign.
Editor's note: Paragraph two has been corrected to indicate that Monday was the 10th day of the military campaign.