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Israel forms committee to investigate Israeli Defense Force attacks on journalists in Gaza

Following last year's blitzkrieg in the Gaza Strip, which lasted from November 14-21 2012, I'lam Media Center sent a request to the Military Advocate General to open an investigation into Israeli Defense Force (IDF) attacks on journalists who were covering events on the ground.

I'lam recently learned that an Israeli military committee was formed to do just that. The IDF called I'lam on the phone and informed the organization that they have begun to gather testimony, and will soon contact journalists who were injured and the families of the deceased to listen to their statements.

In its letter, I'lam emphasized, “Journalists in conflict zones are protected under Article 79 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), from June 8, 1977.”

Article 79 states that:

“1. Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians within the meaning of Article 50, paragraph 1.

2. They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this Protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians…”

I'lam also explained in the letter that “journalists have become the IDF's first targets because they expose the truth and reveal information that is hidden from the public in terms of human rights and international human rights law.”

During the aggression, three journalists were killed: Mahmoud Al-Komy (Al-Aqsa TV), Hussam Salaama (Al-Aqsa TV), and Mohamad Abu Aisha (Educational Radio Station, Jerusalem). Twenty-four journalists were injured, and the buildings of 31 Arab and foreign press agencies were damaged.

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