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