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Rimawi before the Human Rights Council: Israel is practicing a systematic policy that threatens the lives of journalists in Palestine

Ramallah (26-06-2018) - Mousa al-Rimawi, General Director of the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), participated in the 38th regular session of the Human Rights Council- agenda item 3, were he presented an oral intervention before the council on the systematic Israeli violations against journalists and media freedoms in Palestine.


Al-Rimawi stressed in his intervention to the council that MADA Center has provided more evidence of the Israeli occupation forces adopting an official policy not only to ban or prevent press coverage, but also to present a clear and systematic threat to the lives of Palestinian journalists, that was clearly demonstrated during the return marches that began in Gaza on 30/03/2018.


He also mentioned in his statement the role of Israeli soldiers and snipers in killing two Palestinian journalists Yasser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein, wounding at least 23 other journalists with live ammunition and wounding at least 15 journalists with gas bombs fired directly on sensitive and dangerous parts of their bodies, while covering the return marches in Gaza Strip. Noting that, all journalists were clearly identifiable with their press vests and presented hundreds of meters away from the border fence (around 200-350 meters).


Journalists who were targeted throughout the peaceful demonstrations assured to MADA in their affidavits that they did not pose any imminent threat nor on the Israeli Occupation Forces or on any other party. Besides, the demonstrations remained peaceful and did not witness any armed manifestations that might be invoked by the Israeli army to justify its use of live ammunition and deadly force.


He stressed that the journalists who were targeted did not pose any threat to the Israeli soldiers or to any other party, and that these marches remained peaceful and did not witness any armed manifestations that might be invoked by the Israeli army to justify the excessive use of force or the live ammunition.


Israel is undermining their international legal obligations as an occupying power to respect the human rights and human dignity of the Palestinian people due to the culture of impunity enjoyed by the Israeli soldiers and the absence of the principle of accountability for the systematic crimes that may amount to war crimes.


However, throughout the return demonstrations Israeli occupation forces have dealt with journalists and the media outlets as one of the objectives of their soldiers and snipers in order to prevent the coverage and exposure of the crimes committed by the IOF against the peaceful demonstrators.


Al-Rimawi said, Mr. President, we affirm the preliminary resolution issued by the Human Rights Council in its twenty-eighth special session. We call upon the Council to find the appropriate mechanism to put pressure on Israel as a party of the Fourth Geneva Convention and prevent it from using excessive force and internationally prohibited weapons including live ammunition and explosive bullets and tear gas bombs with chemical components that leave severe effects on civilians and journalists."


In conclusion, MADA Center intends to publish a full report on the violations that have affected journalists in Gaza Strip since the beginning of the launch of the return marches and is supposed to be published in the coming weeks.