New York, February 28, 2019 — The Israeli government must hold to account everyone responsible for killing Palestinian journalists Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein in April 2018, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On February 25, 2019, a U.N. independent commission of inquiry said it “found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot journalists intentionally.” According to its report, Israeli snipers shot journalists “who were clearly marked as such” in violation of international humanitarian law, killing Murtaja and Abu Hussein.
“The U.N. commission’s report will not bring back Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein, but it makes crystal clear that the responsibility for their deaths, and for achieving any measure of justice, lies with Israeli authorities,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. “As a democracy, Israel maintains civilian control of its armed forces and must ensure that they respect international law, which classifies journalists as civilians.”
Last year, CPJ wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the killings of Palestinian journalists “part of a pattern” and urging an immediate and credible investigation. CPJ has not received any response to the letter.