Israel targets (and defends attacking) journalists in Gaza

on 19 Comments
Al-Quds TV cameraman Khader al-Zahhar after Israeli air strike on media building, Gaza, 18 November 2012. (Photo: Ali Hassan/Reuters)

Early this morning, just after dawn, the Israeli military targeted two media buildings in the Gaza Strip, injuring six journalists with one losing his leg in an amputation after the bombing. “We obviously know there are journalists in the building,” said IDF spokesperson Avital Leibovich hours later, confirming the Israeli military knowingly targeted news organizations in a military strike to destroy an antenna that was located on the roof of the building.  Leibovich continued, “so we did not attack any other floor in the building, but my advice to journalist visiting Gaza is to stay away from any Hamas positions, or Hamas sites, or Hamas posts for their own safety.”

The BBC’s Middle East Bureau Chief, Paul Danahar, posted an excerpt of Leibovich’s address to the press here.

Screen shot 2012 11 18 at 5 19 14 PM

British independent filmmaker and activist based in Gaza, Harry Fear, also confirmed over Twitter today that media outlets were phoned this morning to flee from their offices. “Israel agents phone Gaza media threatening to flatten their buildings to the ground unless they evacuate,” said Fear on Twitter.

Located in Gaza City the offices included Sky News, al-Arabiya news network, Dubai TV al-Aqsa TV, Russia Today, and Lebanese, German and Italien news teams. Khader al-Zahhar, a cameraman for al-Quds TV was rushed to a hospital after the air strike.

The Guardian reports:

A number of media organisations are based in the al-Shawa building, including al-Quds television, which is associated with Islamic Jihad. Khader al-Zahhar, a cameraman with al-Quds TV, had his leg amputated as a result of injuries sustained in the attack.

A second air strike struck another media complex in the city, the al-Shuruq building. It houses Sky News, the al-Arabiya news network, Dubai TV and an office of al-Aqsa TV, which is affiliated with Hamas.

Sky News reporter Sam Kiley was sleeping in the offices when the missile struck shortly before 7am. ‘The missile hit the floor above us. There was a big flash of light and the sound of breaking glass.’

Screen shot 2012 11 18 at 4 36 35 PM

The IDF spoke publicly for the first time today about the strike on the media offices over social media, tweeting “Roofs of the two buildings targeted tonight, were used by Hamas to place their electronic and communication infrastructure.” Throughout the five-day assault on the Gaza Strip Israeli military officials have repeatedly utilized social media to explain what targets they have hit in what appears to be an attempt to build a discourse on the “precision” of their weaponry. But the @IDFSpokesperson’s Tweets this morning signify a change in messaging, in which the military divulged they knowingly attacked civilians. “Hamas comms center, which was in civilian building. IDF only targeted devices on roof & left Hamas offices on 8th floor untouched.”

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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19 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    November 18, 2012, 10:21 am

    my favorite line by iof spokesperson leibovich was “The journalists in these buildings were serving as human shields for Hamas.”

    still, isn’t it against international law to target journalists in a war zone?

    Salama Marouf of the Hamas media office condemned what he called an “immoral massacre against the media” and calling the attack a “confession” by Israel “that it has lost the media battle.”

    • Kathleen
      November 18, 2012, 11:13 am

      Salama nailed it “lost the media battle” Lost the moral and fact based battle too. But still they rage on winning the violence battle. Continue to operate from the “might makes right” angle. Not winning them any friends or support around the world.

  2. talknic
    November 18, 2012, 10:28 am

    Israel has the precious veto vote via the US in the UNSC. Simple. It can do whatever it likes ….. for the moment.

    • Phil Perspective
      November 18, 2012, 12:48 pm

      Don’t forget, it has almost 100 lap-dogs in the U.S. Senate as well.

    • Reuben_Manhattan
      November 18, 2012, 1:17 pm

      Its quite a joke when Mrs. Clinton calls Russia and China’s veto shameful. Im sure she ran to that bathroom and giggled in the stall for about 10 minutes.

  3. kma
    November 18, 2012, 12:09 pm

    this means that Israel intends to inflict worse terrorist crimes on defenseless people and (of course) blame it on them.

    • Reuben_Manhattan
      November 18, 2012, 1:19 pm

      Come on now as soon as the criminal thug Nuttyyahoo released a youtuibe video claiming that “Israel was going to make every assurance not to hurt civilians” you knew this was Nuttyyahoo -speak for we are going to kill anyone and everyone thats out there and make an excuse for it later.

  4. douglasreed
    November 18, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Israel’s current ‘war crime’

    To date, the Israeli governments has induced hundreds of thousands of its own citizens to illegally settle in the Occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem where it has forced the eviction of many hundreds of Arab residents – in violation of international law and of the authority of the United Nations. These illegal settlements plus the six year blockade of Gaza are the reasons for the continuing conflict and the horrific massacre now being perpetrated among the 1.7 million in Gaza in an illegal attempt to effect a forced regime change by the assassination of its political leaders.

    The US, who has supplied Israel with its war planes and bombs that are now killing and wounding civilians, including children, and even journalists, must bear responsibility for allowing this atrocity, the escalating violence and the dire threat of mounting conflict that could soon become a regional firestorm. Palestinian and European lives are infinitely more important that Mr Netanyahu’s re-election prospects.

    1. The International Criminal Court (ICC) defines the transfer by an occupying power of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, ‘as a War Crime’.

    2. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has declared that: ‘The Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, [including East Jerusalem], have been established in violation of international law.’

    3. The International Court of Justice has judged the Israeli-erected West Bank Barrier to be illegal.

    4. The United Nations has condemned Israel’s annexation of the designated international city of Jerusalem as a ‘violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’


  5. Avi_G.
    November 18, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Israel is going through a checklist:

    (1) First it bombs empty fields to make sure any mines buried there are exploded.

    (2) Then it bombs the leadership’s positions.

    (3) It goes after the media — those whose job it is to report about Israel’s crimes in Gaza.

    (4) It expands the bombing to include civilian infrastructure (Factories, food processing plants, farms, livestock, water purification facilities).

    (5) It inflicts a devastating blow to civilians so as to terrorize them; it targets schools, temporary shelters, refugee camps and mosques.

    This has been the Zionist militias’ modus operandi since before 1947.

  6. Avi_G.
    November 18, 2012, 2:05 pm

    By the way, I’m amazed at how the BBC has been (despite its bias) far, far, better than Al-Jazeera English.

    Al-Jazeera English has become a blatant and blunt mouthpiece of Israeli propaganda. It’s quite astonishing.

  7. Les
    November 18, 2012, 2:32 pm

    This what passes for US journalist neutrality from the Times:

    Arms With a Long Reach Help Hamas

    The Times via Bronner gives the print version of our TV/Cable coverage made so clear in this cartoon:

  8. Bumblebye
    November 18, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Anonymous (according to your twitter feed 5 mins ago) claims tohave taken down Aipac website.

  9. seafoid
    November 18, 2012, 3:52 pm

    Democracy is based on equal rights for all, the rule of law and a free press, amongst other things.

    #FAIL for Israel on all 3

  10. seafoid
    November 18, 2012, 5:09 pm

    The story of Israel is very like the story of Midas, with violence replacing gold.

  11. Pamela Olson
    November 18, 2012, 8:28 pm

    Facebook post (and Tweet?) from Jodi Rudoren of the NYT:

    IDF [statement] this [morning] said it targeted “communications facility,” then recalled that, replaced [with statement] saying “communications antenna.”

    I replied:

    Good eagle eye, Jodi. Keep your eyes open. This kind of thing happens frequently (the IDF changing statements, sometimes falsifying them, as soon as they realize how damaging they may be), and it rarely gets reported.

    • Pamela Olson
      November 18, 2012, 8:29 pm

      Yes, also a Tweet. Here’s the exact wording:

      IDF stmt this am said it targeted “communications facility,” then recalled that, replaced w 1 saying “communications antenna.”

  12. eGuard
    November 19, 2012, 8:28 am

    Targeting is an euphemism. One should not copy that from the IDF parlance.

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