Bilal Jadallah was the director of Press House-Palestine, which supported independent Palestinian media. (Photo: Ali Jadallah)

CPJ pays tribute to slain Palestinian press freedom defender Bilal Jadallah

Washington, D.C., November 20, 2023 — The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply saddened by the killing of Palestinian journalist and press freedom defender Bilal Jadallah, a previous contributor to CPJ’s work, and reiterates its call for the protection of journalists working tirelessly and at enormous risk to cover the Israel-Gaza war.  

On Sunday, Jadallah, the director of Press House-Palestine, was killed by an Israeli airstrike that hit his car in Gaza. Jadallah provided indispensable research for CPJ’s May 2023 report “Deadly Pattern,” which found a complete lack of accountability in Israeli military killings of journalists over 22 years. Jadallah helped locate the families of journalists killed in Gaza and acquired their photos for CPJ’s report.

“Bilal Jadallah helped CPJ document a deadly pattern of journalist killings by Israel Defense Forces and it appears that he fell victim to the same pattern on Sunday,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “His killing leaves a gaping hole in the media landscape in Gaza, where journalists are in severe peril as they cover the war that has claimed the lives of dozens of their colleagues.”  

The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate said it believes Jadallah may have been deliberately targeted by Israeli forces. Mansour said that Jadallah’s killing “should be independently investigated and those behind it must be held accountable.”

As of Monday, at least 48 journalists and media workers, including 43 Palestinians, four Israelis, and one Lebanese, were confirmed dead in the Israel-Gaza war. Jadallah’s killing capped an especially dangerous weekend for the press. Saturday, November 18, saw five journalists killed, the second-deadliest day since October 7. Jadallah’s last post on Facebook was a tribute to his Press House-Palestine colleague, Mohamed Al Jaja, who was killed on November 5 with his wife and two daughters.

Press House-Palestine is a non-profit organization supporting the development of independent Palestinian media and promoting freedom of expression and opinion, according to its website. It also owns Sawa News Agency. During the war, Press House-Palestine has assisted journalists with safety equipment and opened its offices for journalists to work.

CPJ emailed the IDF spokesperson for North American media about Jadallah’s killing but did not receive a response.