Palestinian media attacks ‘unlawful’

Smoke and debris are seen after an Israeli airstrike on a building housing media in Gaza City Nov. 18, 2012.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel’s attacks on journalists and media facilities during its assault on Gaza in November violated the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

The attacks in mid-November killed two cameramen, wounded 10 employees of media organizations and caused serious damage to media and offices housing them.

Human Rights Watch says a detailed investigation found no evidence that the sites were being used for military objectives, despite such assertions by the Israeli army and government.

“Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“Journalists who praise Hamas and TV stations that applaud attacks on Israel may be propagandists, but that does not make them legitimate targets under the laws of war.”

Israel’s military responded by saying it “acts in accordance with the laws of armed conflict, despite the ongoing deliberate violations and abuse of these laws by the terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip”.

“The details of the events mentioned in the report are being checked,” the military said in a statement emailed to Reuters. “Once this process is complete, we will be able to provide a comprehensive response.”

(www.maannews.net / 20.12.2012)

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