Israeli ambassador regrets Reuters cameraman’s death

New York, June 12, 2008—Israel’s ambassador to the United States expressed regret in a meeting with CPJ yesterday over the death of Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana, who was killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip in April.

“Israel’s Ambassador Sallai Meridor met yesterday with the Committee to Protect Journalists delegation at their request,” said a statement from the Israeli Embassy issued today. “Ambassador Meridor expressed regret over the death of Fadel Shana and emphasized that the tragic incident is under investigation at senior levels of the IDF. He expressed hope that the inquiry will be concluded in the near future.”

The statement went on to say that “Ambassador Meridor underscored Israel’s responsibility to protect its civilian population from attacks by terror organizations embedded in Palestinian population centers. Israel, operating under these difficult circumstances, continues to make every effort to protect all innocent civilians in its fight against the terrorist organizations.”

In yesterday’s meeting with Meridor in Washington, a CPJ delegation called on the Israeli authorities to release the findings of an army investigation into Shana’s death, and urged the government to commit to a thorough, impartial, and credible inquiry into the killing.
Shana, 23, was killed on April 16 by shellfire from an Israeli tank as he filmed Israeli military forces outside of Johr al-Diek, near the Israel-Gaza border. He was the seventh journalist killed by the Israel Defense Forces in seven years.