Israeli snipers shoot 6 Palestinian journalists, killing one–making international headlines

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On the second Friday of the Gaza protests yesterday, Israeli snipers shot nearly 500 Palestinians at the Gaza border, killing nine (per AP), and bringing the death total in two Fridays to 31. The international headlines feature the shootings of six Palestinian journalists, including one who was killed, 30-year-old Yasser Murtaja, even though he wore a flak jacket clearly marked PRESS.

This is the only story today. For Reuters, for AFP, for the AP;  for the Washington Post too. (Journalists have self interest.) “Palestinian journalist in vest marked ‘PRESS’ shot dead by Israeli troops in Gaza,” is the Post headline. Reporter Loveday Morris waits many paragraphs to provide the Israeli defense of its soldiers’ actions: blaming Hamas for turning the fence into a war zone.

One of the wounded journalists was Khalia Aazara, photo below posted by journalist Saad Abedine, who says that 780 in all were injured yesterday.The Palestinian health ministry said 491 Palestinians were shot.

Khalia abu Aazara, journalist shot by Israeli sniper, April 6, 2018. Photo posted by Saad Abedine on his twitter feed.

Ben White has posted the names and faces of all nine Palestinians killed protesting yesterday. The youngest are 16, 17, and 20.

Liam O’Hare, a well-known reporter, says of Murtaja: 

Yaser Murtaja was a filmmaker and the founder of Ain Media, a media and art agency which sought to tell the reality of life in Gaza. He was 30-years-old and was shot down by an Israeli sniper while attempting to do his job.

AFP reports the outrage of the Palestinian journalists union:

Six Palestinian journalists were shot and wounded by the Israeli army during clashes Friday between demonstrators and troops on the Gaza border, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate said.

The union said the six were shot despite wearing clothes clearly identifying themselves as journalists, adding it held Israel “fully accountable for this crime”.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem expresses condemnation of all the shootings:

Yesterday, yet again, the Israeli military used lethal force with no justification in Gaza. Shooting live ammunition at unarmed protesters who pose no threat is immoral, and a command ordering it is manifestly illegal. Israeli policy makers must change these orders immediately.

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has released a strong statement to be read at a demonstration in London today against the murders.

The killing and wounding of yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters yesterday by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage…

[Gazans] have a right to protest against their appalling conditions and the continuing blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, and in support of their right to return to their homes and their right to self-determination.

Firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is illegal and inhumane and cannot be tolerated.

(Where are the American politicians?)

The AP on Murtaja’s killing:

Witnesses said Murtaja was over 100 meters (yards) from the border, wearing a flak jacket marked “press” and holding his camera when he was shot in an exposed area just below the armpit.

The Israeli military has said it fired only at “instigators” involved in attacks on soldiers and was investigating Murtaja’s death amid a very hectic environment.

Murtaja had never left Gaza. In March he posted a drone image he had made of the harbor with the statement, “I have never traveled,” and expressing the desire to leave Gaza.

Yaser Murtaja image of Gaza coast, posted March 24.

Loveday Morris of the Washington Post:

“My name is Yaser Murtaja. I’m 30-years-old. I live in Gaza City. I’ve never traveled!” He never did.

An Associated Press tweet from Murtaja’s funeral was oblique: “Hundreds attend funeral of a well-known Palestinian journalist in Gaza who died after covering the mass protests along the Israel border.” Yousef Munayyer slammed the language:

Really AP? A professional colleague was shot and killed doing his job and you can’t state that plainly in your tweet? He didn’t die from disease or a car accident, he was murdered.

David Rothkopf is one of many international voices condemning Israel:

No excuse for it. The Israeli government cannot argue as it often does that it is persecuted by the international community unfairly and then behave with the kind of wanton and unjustifiable brutality it has shown in the face of these Gaza protests (to choose one example.)

An Israeli journalist posted this photo of Israelis surveying the killing fields with the line, “Best show in town.”

“Best show in town.” Israeli residents of Nahal Oz “in the stands.” Photo posted by Niv Dvori, a reporter for Channel 2 News, on April 6, 2018.

Diana Buttu on twitter: “This is sick.”

More disturbing: An Israeli officer posted a threatening tweet of a rifle scope image of Palestinian protesters, including children, with what is said to be a warning in Arabic.

That photo, in case it is taken down.

Image of Palestinian children in rifle scope posted by an Israeli officer

Peter Feld responds: 

Snipers who murder protesters, journalists and children will face terminal Nuremberg justice, likewise those who command them. Social media officers like you who assist them will share in their fate. Everything that you Nazis post will be evidence.

Jason Greenblatt, mediator for the Trump administration, retweets Israeli propaganda about Hamas terrorists fostering the violence– so much for America’s reputation. This is brilliant from Buttu:

The (ever-expanding) list of words and phrases that I am tired of hearing: – “two-state solution” – “deeply concerned” – “both sides” – “excessive use of force” – “restraint” – “clashes” – “confrontations”

Many Jews are seeing this story for what it is, a liberation tale. Michael Davis on our site. Rothkopf on twitter:

The victims of Israeli brutality in this & the last Gaza conflict will ultimately have a power Israelis for all their firepower cannot muster–a moral power that will ultimately win the people of Gaza the rights they are being denied But I suspect they would rather be alive..

Jeffrey Goldberg is still avoiding Gaza. He retweets David Frum on British anti-Semitism. Jennifer Rubin, Israel’s vociferous defender ordinarily, is all about Trump. Bari Weiss is talking about anti-Semitism too. Nothing to say about Gaza. When is one of these hasbarists going to say, No mas?

Thanks to Adam Horowitz, Allison Deger, James North and Ofer Neiman.

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“When is one of these hasbarists going to say, No mas?” When Israel says, ‘We hear you world’?? Maybe when Phil Weiss says: ‘So I guess a rabbi mentioning the word ‘occupation’ in a synagogue in Westchester isn’t such a big deal after all’; maybe when Phil Weiss says: ‘Turns out that Ron Perleman piece in the NYT amounted to a big fat nothing’; maybe when Phil Weiss stops pretending that ‘and making international headlines’… Read more »

It’s encouraging to see Shaun King tell his 1.7 million Facebook followers, I need you to understand what Israel is doing to Palestinians right now. Yesterday an Israeli sniper shot and killed a beloved photojournalist named Yasser Murtaja. That’s him moments after they shot him. I’ve seen the video. He died soon thereafter. It’s disgraceful. In fact Israeli snipers have now killed 30 Palestinian protestors. They aren’t even face to face. They are shooting them… Read more »

Clearly Israel does not give a rats ass about International opinion when they murder Palestinians in mass. Although they have to feel something is up about public opinion since they are trying to hard to shut down the debate. We really need to start targeting the massive U.S. foreign aid package

One small correction and a request: the photo appears to be of a sighting through binoculars rather than a sniper’s rifle scope. That doesn’t mean that these children were not targeted, since the spotters that work with (and often direct) the snipers probably use binoculars. My request is, can someone translate what the officer posted in his tweet?