PCHR strongly condemns the latest Israeli attack on al-Resala weekly in Gaza City. This attack is another in a series of attacks by Israeli occupying forces on journalists and media institutions attempting to silence the press and prohibit reporting on Israeli war crimes against Palestinian civilians.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 00:40 on Sunday, 16 May 2004, Israeli helicopter gunships launched a missile at offices of al-Resala weekly on the first floor of a 10-storey building in al-Nasser neighborhood in Gaza City. The missile hit the offices directly and destroyed their contents. Two Palestinian civilians living in the area were injured, but no casualties were reported among al-Resala’s staff. Al-Resala is a licensed weekly magazine published by the Palestinian Salvation Party since 1997.
This attack was the second of its kind against media institutions in the past 3 weeks, where on 2 May 2004, Israeli helicopter gunships attacked offices of al-Aqsa broadcasting station, known for its close relationship with Hamas movement. The offices were on the upper floor of Palestine tower residential building in the center of Gaza City. The offices were severely damaged, but no casualties were reported. A number of flats in the building were also damaged.
According to a report recently published by PCHR, the number of attacks by Israeli occupying forces against journalists and media institutions from the beginning of the current Intifada until the end of March 2004, had reached 470, and resulted in 8 killings and 16 injuries. Other attacks had included destruction of media institutions, arrests and detention, beatings, humiliation, degrading treatment, confiscation of press cards and media equipment, denial of access to certain areas and denial of travel abroad.
Israeli occupying forces perpetrate such attacks despite the protection afforded to journalists by international humanitarian law. PCHR calls upon the international community and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to take concrete steps to ensure their fulfillment of their obligations, not only to ensure respect for the Conventions, but also to provide protection for Palestinian civilians who have been subject to human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces.