In the aftermath of the tragic targeted airstrike in Gaza that claimed the lives of two journalists, Geneva Council, an independent news organization, joins prominent human rights groups in urging international action. The organization calls upon world leaders, particularly US President Joe Biden, to ensure strict adherence to international law and to take decisive measures to safeguard press freedom, according to a report by The Guardian.
The joint letter, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, the Freedom of Press Foundation, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and Reporters Without Borders, emphasizes the urgent need for protection of journalists in conflict zones. The ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, which commenced on October 7 last year, has seen the tragic loss of at least 79 journalists, with 72 of them being Palestinian journalists in Gaza.
Geneva Council underscores the vital role of journalists as civilians and their irreplaceable contribution to documenting and reporting on war crimes and human rights violations. The organization expresses deep concern over credible reports from reputable human rights and media organizations pointing to the Israeli military’s responsibility for the deaths of several journalists. These reports include incidents such as the deliberate targeting of a car on January 7, resulting in the death of two journalists and severe injuries to a third.
While acknowledging recent statements by the US State Department’s spokesperson that no evidence has been seen indicating intentional targeting of journalists by Israel, Geneva Council urges the United States to leverage its influence in ensuring all parties involved adhere strictly to international law.
The press release sheds light on specific incidents, including the tragic deaths of Hamza Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuraya, journalists in their 20s, killed in Khan Younis when their vehicle was reportedly struck by a missile. Subsequent claims by Israel suggesting the presence of a “terrorist” accompanying the journalists raise additional concerns.
In response to queries regarding targeted attacks on journalists, US National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby stated that the Biden administration has not seen evidence of intentional targeting by Israel. While acknowledging the global importance of journalists having the freedom to cover conflicts, Kirby refrained from commenting on specific incidents due to a lack of details.
The Geneva Council emphasizes the urgency of international attention to the matter and calls for a thorough and impartial investigation into the targeted attacks on journalists. The conflict between Palestinian militants Hamas and Israeli forces has resulted in more than 23,000 casualties since October 7, with over 22,000 Palestinian deaths in Gaza and the West Bank, and over 1,200 deaths in Israel.