The Israeli war on Gaza stopped at dawn on May 21, and “destroyed property” witnessed crimes committed by the war machine against Palestinian journalists, who faced death bare-chested for 11 days.
In the Square of the Unknown Soldier in the middle of the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City, which was subjected to the heaviest Israeli air raids, the Government Media Office held the “Witness to Crime 2021” exhibition, its sides crowded with pictures documented by photographers’ lenses, remnants of Israeli shells, and press possessions, from which “the futility of war” affected. If she had a tongue, she would have spoken of the horrific crimes that Gaza journalists and those who are safe in their homes have been subjected to.
The Monitoring and Follow-up Unit of the Government Media Office documented, in a comprehensive report, a copy of which was obtained by Al Jazeera Net, about 96 Israeli attacks that took the lives and blood of journalists, their offices, homes and property.
In an air strike that targeted him inside his house in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, Yousef Abu Hussein, a local radio broadcaster, was martyred, while 12 others were injured. The homes and cars of journalists, the property and headquarters of international news agencies, and prestigious television networks, most notably the headquarters of the Al Jazeera Media Network, were destroyed.
The exhibition was mediated by cameras and television equipment destroyed as a result of the destruction of Israeli warplanes, Al-Jalaa Tower, which houses the headquarters of Al-Jazeera and the American Associated Press, and Al-Shorouk Tower, which includes the headquarters of television production companies and local and Arab television networks.
The Government Information Office said that while committing its crimes, Israel “sees itself immune, above the law, and free from prosecution and accountability, which encourages it to commit more.”
According to the head of the office, Salama Maarouf, what Israel committed during the days of the war amounted to “war crimes in the truest sense of the word.”
Maarouf said during the opening of the exhibition that its goal was to “present the Palestinian narrative to the world” through its angles that include photographs taken by photographers’ lenses of crimes committed by Israel against civilians, and remnants of Israeli missiles and missiles that were used extensively during the war.
He added, “In every corner and street in Gaza, you will find traces of the brutal Israeli aggression (…) and the occupation wanted to commit its crimes silently, so it sought to conceal the witnesses to the truth and its knights from among the journalists, targeting them and destroying their offices, homes and properties.”
in the face of death
Gaza journalists work under unsafe conditions, as most of them do not have professional safety tools, which Israel has prevented from entering the besieged coastal strip for 15 years.
Osama al-Kahlout, a freelance journalist who cooperates with various media outlets, says that few journalists working for international news agencies and reputable television networks have safety equipment (shields and helmets), while most of them face death with bare chests.
For many years, Israel has prevented the supply of these tools to Gaza, classified them as military equipment, and included them in a large list of goods classified as dual-use items and feared that they would reach the resistance.
Al-Kahlout told Al-Jazeera Net that he had many times been exposed to risks during his daily coverage of the recent war and in previous confrontations, due to his lack of professional protection tools.
In the absence of these tools, Kahlout, like other journalists working for local media or those not affiliated with a specific medium, resorted to tailors to sew armor-like jackets marked with the word press, but they are neither protective nor provide any protection.
Al-Kahlout attributes his lack of safety equipment to its unavailability in Gaza due to the restrictions of the occupation, and its high price for journalists like him who achieve limited financial returns that are barely enough to meet the basic needs of their families.
Because he does not have these means, Kahlout, during his coverage of the war in Gaza, is keen to be behind fellow journalists who wear them, and tries to keep a “safe distance” from the danger zone, but he says that this is not possible in all cases.
Thanks to helmets and protective suits, journalists escaped death when an Israeli fighter jet targeted their car with a direct missile that hit the back of the car and scattered its shrapnel inside.
Dr. Tahseen al-Astal, deputy head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, told Al Jazeera Net that the union had not succeeded several times before and in different ways from introducing these means of prevention into Gaza due to the complete refusal of Israel, so that the journalist in Gaza would remain facing his fate in the field, and the danger remains threatening his life.