The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expresses its deep concern about the continued and escalating Israeli targeting of Palestinian civilians including journalists since the start of the great return march since 30th of March 2018 that led to the killing of two journalists and targeting at least 15 journalists with live ammunition besides, suffocating tens of journalists while covering the peaceful demonstration. Therefore MADA center reaffirms its demand to form an independent commission of inquiry into all cases of deliberate target of unarmed civilians including journalists; to put an end to the culture of impunity enjoyed by Israel, and put an end to the systematic policy of targeting civilians that has been escalating on a fast pace that entered its eighth consecutive week in the Gaza Strip.
Journalists Yasser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein were killed by Israeli Occupation Forces and at least 9 journalists were targeted with live ammunition and explosive bullets till 14 May 2018; reveals the shoot-to-kill Israeli policy during the peaceful demonstration.
On the 14th and 15th of May 2018, IOF targeted at least 6 Palestinian journalists with live ammunition, besides tens of journalists that were targeted with rubber bullets and suffocated by the chemical gas bombs both in West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
The most serious case is photo journalist Yaser Qudeih who was shot with live ammunition while covering peaceful demonstration in Khuza’a area in Gaza Strip.
Amin Qudaih, cousin of journalist Yasser, reported in a testimony to MADA Center: “At approximately 15:00 pm on 14/5/2018, while Yasser was at a distance of about 20-50 meters from the border fence in Khuza’a area of the Gaza Strip to cover the return marches There, an Israeli sniper fired at Yasser, hitting him directly in the abdomen, knowing that he was wearing a protective shield and carrying his camera, indicating that he was a journalist and that his targeting was carried out directly and deliberately”.
He clarified that “journalist Yasser was seriously injured and was taken to Shifa Hospital where he underwent two surgeries. His health condition continued to deteriorate, so he was transferred to Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem. He arrived there at 2 am on Tuesday, May 15,there he underwent a surgery and was placed in intensive care and is still there. ”
It is worth mentioning that journalist Yasser has been covering the return marches continuously and was hit with a gas bomb in his right foot last week and received field treatment and completed his work.
Furthermore, IOF killed 62 peaceful demonstrators (civilians, including women and children) according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza during the past two days, as well as 3188otherswere injured and suffocated, including dozens of journalists.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), observes through its monitoring and documenting unit a clear escalating in the IOF excessive use of lethal force and the continued target of unarmed civilians in such a discriminate disproportionate deliberate and systematic manner.
Therefore, MADA center reiterates its demand to start active and immediate measures to prosecute all perpetrators of these crimes, otherwise such attacks will continue.