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Israel’s explanation for killing two journalists in Gaza? Palestinians aren’t journalists, they’re ‘targets’

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Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister explains to al-Jazeera English that Palestinians from Gaza are not “legitimate journalist.” (Video: al-Jazeer English)

After a second Israeli attack on a media building in two days, this time killing two journalists, the spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, Mark Regev explains to al-Jazeera English that because the journalists were Palestinian the Israel military considered them legitimate “targets.” Regev’s remarks were made just a few hours after the November 19, 2012 bombing of al-Shuruq Tower and another building used to house the offices of several media outlets, including both Palestinian and international networks.

Speaking to al-Jazeera, Regev said, “We took out the target that we wanted to take out.” When pressed by al-Jazeera over the injuries of eight journalists the previous day, where one lost his leg, Regev continued,

Oh you’re talking about… oh first of all maybe we have a discussion about who is a journalist and if you’ll allow me I will elaborate on this. There is the al-Aqsa station, which is a station that is a Hamas command and control facility, just as in other totalitarian regimes; the media is used by the regime for command and control and also for security purposes. From our point of view that’s not a legitimate journalist.

Al-Jazeera’s correspondent then followed-up by asking, “So what are you saying? That a local Arab journalist life is any less than an internationalist journalist?” Apparently for Regev, yes, in Gaza there are no legitimate Palestinian journalists, only targets.

For a second time in two days, Israel targets media buildings in Gaza. (Video: al-Jazeera English)

This callous disregard for human life should come as no surprise to us. Yesterday after the first strike on the Shawa and Hossari Building the Foreign Press Association in Israel issued a letter noting that a United Nations Security Council resolution says that journalists covering conflict civilians that must be protected. Israeli military spokesperson Avital Leibovich responded “The journalists in these buildings were serving as human shields for Hamas,” knowing full well the building included the offices of Sky News, al-Arabiya news network, Dubai TV al-Aqsa TV, Russia Today, and Lebanese, German and Italian news teams and more.

Allison Deger

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

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Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is a mom, a human rights activist, and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area and likes to garden. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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22 Responses

  1. James on November 19, 2012, 5:38 pm

    maybe regev can also explain where the country palestine is if he is able to say a ‘palestinian’ is a legitimate target..

  2. amigo on November 19, 2012, 6:27 pm

    I look forward to these two slimy liars being “targeted” by the Hague.

    That ought to wipe the smirk off Regev,s or is that Freiberg,s face.

  3. mondonut on November 19, 2012, 7:08 pm

    Is this the same attack? The one that killed a Islamic Jihad member who was in the “media” building?

    AFP – A senior Islamic Jihad militant was killed on Monday in an Israeli strike on a Gaza City building housing Palestinian and international media, the Islamist faction told AFP.

    Israel confirmed the attack, with its intelligence services saying the strike had targeted “senior Islamic Jihad officials” who were on the premises.

    It was the second time in as many days that Israel had fired on the Shuruq Tower in the city’s upscale Rimal neighbourhood which is used by media outlets including Britain’s Sky News, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network, Russia Today and Iran’s Press TV.

    • Eva Smagacz on November 20, 2012, 3:23 am

      No, Israelis attacked the same building for a second time.

      • mondonut on November 20, 2012, 9:14 am

        Eva Smagacz says: No, Israelis attacked the same building for a second time.
        So, exactly what I said? The Israelis attacked the same building, and in the second attack they killed an Islamic Jihad member.

      • Hostage on November 20, 2012, 3:30 pm

        So, exactly what I said? The Israelis attacked the same building, and in the second attack they killed an Islamic Jihad member.

        You might try to justify a single attack, since both of them would still be patently illegal under international law. The risk of killing civilians working for Britain’s Sky News, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network, Dubai TV al-Aqsa TV, Russia Today, Iran’s Press TV, and Lebanese, German and Italian news teams is not out-weighed by the proportional military advantage obtained by killing a single belligerent member of Islamic Jihad. The Israeli Supreme Court has even ruled that it’s illegal to kill civilian members of the terror groups, except when they are actively and directly participating in hostilities.

  4. Allison Deger on November 20, 2012, 3:42 am

    The attack was on al-Shuruq Tower and an adjacent building. Al-Shuruq Tower was hit with an Israeli bomb the day before. From what Israeli officials have said, both attacks were to target communications devices on the roof. But the only specific “device,” the Israelis have said they wanted to take out is a lousy antenna.

    • Obsidian on November 20, 2012, 5:30 am

      As per JPost:

      ‘The terrorists were all struck by a missile that hit the second story of the building. They were hurt in the blast, and at least one has been killed, according to Palestinian medical sources.
      They have been identified as Bha’a Abu Ata, Tisir Mahmoud Jabari, Khalil Bahatini and Ramaz Harb.
      Ata was a member of Islamic Jihad’s supreme military council and the commander of the Gaza City brigade. He led rocket fire on Israel and oversaw the manufacture and import of rockets, including long-range Fajr projectiles.
      Jabari, who was also a member of the supreme military council, headed terror operations and orchestrated the firing of many rockets into Israel. He also took part in attacks on IDF forces. Bahatini was a senior operative involved in Islamic Jihad’s long-range rocket program.’

  5. seafoid on November 20, 2012, 3:49 am

    Regev is the Grand Wizard of Hasbara.

    His spiel is so flimsy. He never answers questions directly.

    He says that Hamas rockets are “double war crimes” and cites international law.
    LOL. International law!!!!

    There is no law for Gaza. There is no court for Gaza.

    • Inanna on November 20, 2012, 6:20 am

      It was great to see Mark Regev rattled and the look of smug self-satisfaction he usually wears when defending Israel fall to reveal something truly ugly.

      • seafoid on November 20, 2012, 9:47 am

        He is such a toerag.

        He is asked about the murder of children and he turns it into a rant on how fascist Khamas are.

    • Sumud on November 20, 2012, 7:59 am

      Imagine devoting your life to the telling of lies, and that is Mark Regev – pathetic:

      Inside the mind of Mark Regev

      • seafoid on November 20, 2012, 9:51 am

        He always gets the soft gloves treatment from the MSM:

        Paxman on BBC asked him “will you agree to an international inquiry” and he replied” we will carry out our own inquiry”. No follow up. an Israeli inquiry is as useful as eunuch sperm donation. Cf Cast Lead.

        He cites international law. Nobody ever asks him why Israel doesn’t bring Hamas to the ICC. Or why Israel is terrified of the ICC. Or why Israel suddenly takes an interest in International law.

        He says ” we want peace”. Nobody ever asks him what “peace” means now Israel has killed the 2SS.

    • Hostage on November 20, 2012, 2:21 pm

      There is no law for Gaza. There is no court for Gaza.

      That isn’t really the view of Dr. Michael Kearney on the subject. He and I have exchanged views in online forums and swapped some emails on the subject. He authored the Al Haq position papers which stated that Palestine is a State for the purposes of the Rome Statute and provided them to the Office of the ICC Prosecutor. He and a list of other legal scholars have also called on the ICC Assembly of State Parties to place that question on their agenda and settle it once and for all, regardless of any action taken by the Prosecutor or the UN Organization. But he is also aware of the fact that Palestine is already a member of a “category of States” that can conclude treaties or other agreements in accordance with the UN’s Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (which provides the rules that govern interpretations of the Rome Statute). So, the question can still be put to the Judges, one way or another.

      • seafoid on November 20, 2012, 3:12 pm


        That is the theory. In practice the Palestinians can’t bring any case anywhere against Israel. Even the ICJ decision was ignored. Israel is untouchable. As well as autistic.

        Palestinians are massacred and nobody takes the rap. Israeli soldiers kill with impunity.

      • Hostage on November 20, 2012, 6:51 pm

        Hostage, That is the theory.

        No that is actually the name of a collection of essays that stand for the proposition that Israel can be held accountable in the ICC. Kearney wrote a chapter: “Why Statehood Now: A Reflection on the ICC’s Impact on Palestine’s Engagement with International Law” for Chantal Meloni, Gianni Tognoni (Eds.), Is There a Court for Gaza? A Test Bench for International Justice, 2012

      • Hostage on November 20, 2012, 7:25 pm

        P.S. Re: Even the ICJ decision was ignored.

        The ICJ findings of facts included a conclusion that Israel had established settlements in violation of its obligations under international law and Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention. That was a crime which was subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC in 2003, and it isn’t subject to any other statutory limitations that would prevent the prosecution of the responsible officials today under the terms of Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute.

        Netanyahu and his cabinet have invited tenders for hundreds or thousands of additional units in the illegal settlements on several occasions. The Prime Minister has gone out of his way to describe some of them as punitive measures. It shouldn’t be hard to investigate the ICJ findings using sources of information in the public domain and obtain arrest warrants and convictions.

  6. seafoid on November 20, 2012, 4:34 am

    Anderson Cooper delivers a fine bot riposte

  7. Accentitude on November 20, 2012, 6:55 am

    This guy has always been a slimy disgusting excuse for a human being. Every time I see him open his mouth, it makes my blood boil…and sadly, he’s actually the person who’s supposed to speak on behalf of the Israeli government, meaning his words are chosen and approved by his puppetmaster Nuttyahoo. Its quite telling of the mentality of the entire Zionist regime, that these idiots can go on international news programs and say such stupid racist things and assume that its perfectly normal, fine and acceptable.

    And actually, we ourselves, as an international community are responsible for nurturing this Israeli logic by affording them full impunity time and time again for every single thing that they’ve done in the last 64+ years. No international laws, no resolutions, no amount of pressure can make the Israelis accountable for what they’re doing. After all, they have a right to defend their borders against “rockets raining down on their country” right? But the Palestinians don’t have that right. They only have the right to shut up and die.

    It sickens me that the Americans and Europeans have allowed the Israelis to go this far without any consequences whatsoever. Killing kids? No problem, they were probably going to be terrorists in the future anyway. Building settlements on stolen land? Hey, it’s “disputed” and we don’t have a peace process to determine who’s land it really is, so what the hell, go ahead! We’ve got a veto against condemning that too and when it comes time to actually discuss the 2 state solution again, we can say that facts on the ground now make that completely and totally impossible. Using American made F-16 war planes, hellfire missiles, white phosphorus, and bunker busters against a densely populated unarmed civilian population? Sure, go ahead! After all, the Arabs don’t love their children and would rather use them as human shields. Killing journalists? No problem, they’re actually propagandists for “terrorist” factions. Land annexations, water redistribution, scorching farming lands, killing livestock, burning churches and mosques, establishing “Jews only” roads in Arab villages? Yeah, why not! We won’t hold you accountable for that. 62% of the West Bank is Area C meaning its under full Israeli control. These will be future settlements and Palestinians will be forced to live in tiny little islands of Arab villages, each separated from one another.

    Of course, EU’s Ashton “regrets” it. Clinton and Obama don’t think that it’s “helpful” to the peace process. Tony Blair is “concerned” and Ban Ki Moon thinks it’s “unfortunate.” But will anyone take Israel to task for its actions? No. Will they force the Israelis to define their borders and completely remove themselves from occupied lands? Nope. Germany will continue to provide nuclear subs, America will continue to provide weapons and other military equipment, the EU will continue its economic trade agreements, and the world governments will continue to pretend that the conflict between Israel and Palestine can be contained indefinitely without giving the Palestinians the right to their own nation. 80% of Israelis think that the conflict with the Palestinians cannot be solved. 90% support Israel’s actions in this latest “conflict” and most support an apartheid state which treats Arabs as sub-humans. Will things change anytime soon? Nope.

  8. Kathleen on November 20, 2012, 7:18 am

    Israel is “shooting the messenger”


    Is a Jewish life more important than a Palestinian life

  9. mcohen on November 20, 2012, 11:15 pm

    Can someone please interview the israelis who live in the cities around gaza.any news would be fantastic. Lately all you read about is gaza but aftet 800 rockets there must be something to report.anything would be great like hearing from families with kids.the impact on daily is strange because so little is being reported about israeli civilians.even israeli arabs or tourists could be interviewed
    just one post would be great annie and allison

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