The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the crime committed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Wednesday evening, which took the life of Fadel Shana’a, a Palestinian journalist, when he carrying out his job in Gaza. PCHR expresses utmost concern over continued crimes committed by IOF against journalists and media professionals, which is a reflection of excessive use of force against civilians, and systematic targeting of journalists to prevent them from covering crimes committed against civilians.
According to information obtained by PCHR, and the testimony of Wafa Abu Mezyed, a Reuters soundman who was wounded in the attack, at approximately 17:00 on Wednesday, 16 April 2008, Fadel Subhi Shana’a, 23, a cameraman, and Wafa Younsi Abu Mezyed, 25, a soundman, both working for Reuters, were near al-Ihasn Mosque in Juhor al-Dik village, southeast of Gaza City, documenting crimes committed by IOF in the area. When they finished their work, Shana’a and Abu Mezyed traveled in their sport utility vehicle bearing “TV” and “Press” markings towards Salah al-Din Street to leave the village. Abu Mezyed Sated:
“When we were traveling towards Salah al-Din Street, Israeli military vehicles were nearly 700 meters away from us. We stopped and got out of the vehicle and Shana’a started to [document] the military vehicles. We were wearing bulletproof suits and carrying cameras. When I was driving a number of children away from us, I was surprised by a shell falling near Shana’a who was standing near the vehicle. I saw him falling on the ground and I was wounded by shrapnel to the left hand. Another shell hit the back of the vehicle, and I was wounded by shrapnel to the pelvis and the right foot. I cried and ran towards ambulances to save us.”
Immediately, ambulances evacuated Shana’a and Abu Mezyed to al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Deir al-Balah. According to medical sources, Shana’a was brought the hospital dead.
Reuters stated on its web site that “Shana’a was covering events in the Gaza Strip for Reuters on a day of intense violence.” “He had stepped from his car to film an Israeli tank dug in several hundred meters [yards] away, when an explosion killed him and two youth passing by. Video from Shana’s camera showed the tank opening fire. Two seconds after the shot raises dust around its gun, the tape goes blank — seemingly at the moment Shana was hit,” the statement added.
PCHR strongly condemns this latest crime, which is part of systematic targeting of journalists by IOF. Since the beginning of the current intifada in late September 2000, IOF have killed nine journalists, including an Italian journalist and a British one, and have wounded at least 170 others.
PCHR reiterates its calls for the international community and the High Contracting Parties of the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to fulfill their obligation to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and to immediately intervene to stop grave breaches of the Convention perpetrated by IOF.