Defying international law, Israel forces committed 600 rights violations against Palestinian journalists between October 2018 and October 2019 in the occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
According to a report released by Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), Israeli forces shot 60 journalists who suffered serious wounds; some of them were still suffering at the time of the report's release. Some 43 journalists were hit by sound grenades directly thrown at them by Israeli occupation forces, the report said.
“More than 170 journalists were beaten, detained or banned from coverage,” the report also revealed.
The report also disclosed that 10 journalists were detained during this period, raising the number of journalists inside Israeli jails to 18.
In September, the U.N. underscored the Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists, stating that 30 journalists were injured by Israeli forces during the Gaza border protests following the adoption of U.N. Resolution 40/13 on March 22 this year over rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Great March of Return, a key flash point for violence, began on March 30, 2018 when hundreds of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators converged on the buffer zone separating Gaza from Israel, calling for the easing of an Israeli blockade of the territory and recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees there to return home to Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. Israel has responded to the rallies with deadly force. U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Israel used tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water cannons and sound devices, as well as regularly firing live ammunition, against the demonstrators.
“As a direct result, since 22 March 2019, 13 Palestinians, including five children, have been killed,” Commissioner Bachelet said.
She added that hundreds of others, including health workers and journalists, have been injured.
“Many have been left with permanent disabilities, including 20 who have undergone amputations, two who have been paralyzed, and six who have permanently lost vision in one eye,” she said.
She added that the 13 deaths since March 22 follow the killings of 189 Palestinians in the previous 12 months, including 38 children.
Since the Gaza rallies began in March last year, nearly 270 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more wounded by Israeli troops deployed near the buffer zone.
Israel was criticized by a U.N. human rights body for its killing of protesters in Gaza and for its treatment of Palestinians, declaring it a “war crime” under the Statute of Rome. The high casualty toll triggered diplomatic backlash against Israel and new charges of excessive use of force against unarmed protesters.
Rights groups have branded open-fire orders as unlawful, saying they effectively permit soldiers to use potentially lethal force against unarmed protesters. In the face of growing criticism over Gaza border violence, Israeli authorities earlier said that human rights laws do not apply to ongoing Palestinian protests along the Gaza Strip.