Bradley: Israel is waging a declared war against journalists (Al Jazeera)

Paris – After the assassination of journalist Mustafa Thuraya and while Al Jazeera's Wael Dahdouh takes his last look at the body of his son Hamza, journalists in the Gaza Strip remain in the crossfire of the Israeli occupation forces.

IFJ President Dominique Bradley expressed her deep sadness and offered her condolences to the families of the two martyrs and to all Al Jazeera staff.

Bradley denounced in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera Net what she called the "deliberate targeting" of journalists inside the besieged sector, praising their unprecedented courage to convey the real information that documents the crimes of the occupation.

The president of the Brussels-based IFRC also condemned countries that are complicit in the far-right government in Israel, considering them participants in the killing machine that kills the Palestinian people and journalists.

And to the text of the dialogue

  • Journalists Hamza Al-Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuraya were martyred today by Israeli shelling. What is the position of the IFJ?

We were deeply shocked to learn that our colleagues died this morning north of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip where they were targeted, like a large part of our fellow journalists who died in the Strip more than three months ago.

It is clear that Israeli forces are not only bombing to kill as many civilians as possible, but are waging a declared war against journalists. The media with the highest number of journalists in the field are the most targeted.

Al Jazeera in particular is heavily targeted by the far-right Israeli government, and we saw this clearly before, for example with the assassination of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin. Today's journalists are therefore the targets of war, and Al Jazeera's journalists are particularly targeted.

  • Would you describe this targeting as "deliberate"?

Of course, we cannot ignore that. With all the documented reports and testimonies we get thanks to the courage of our staff at the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, we cannot say that these journalists were killed by accident because there is no such thing as a coincidence, and the vast majority of them were deliberately targeted.

On the IFJ website, since 8 October, we have dedicated a corner where we put the name of each journalist and the date, place and circumstances of their death. Unfortunately, we update the information on a daily basis several times a day.

We are certain that the far-right government in Israel wants to kill as many journalists and civilians as possible.

  • It is clear that Israel does not care about statements of condemnation. Will there be actual movements and pressure to stop the targeting of journalists in the Gaza Strip?

Yes, we have three types of actions, the first of which is political and media pressure, and the second is pressure on the allies of the extremist Netanyahu government who provide it with bombs, ammunition and aid of all kinds.

The third pressure card is to seek justice before the International Criminal Court. For example, we have been with Abu Akleh's family and other Palestinian journalists since September 2022 on the appeal filed before the court.

We call on Al Jazeera to jointly document as many cases of journalist assassinations as possible to allow us to bring justice and hold those responsible to account.

  • You have previously discussed the possibility of filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court about the crimes of the occupation against journalists, where did this file reach?

I regret to say that I do not have a generous answer about that. But we will provide an assessment on the file with our lawyer Christophe Marachan when it becomes available in the coming days.

On the other hand, I confirm that the first complaints that I have previously talked about are accepted in court and are currently being investigated.

  • Do you hold the veto countries responsible?

Yes, we hold all governments and their partners responsible, whether directly and effectively or by abstention and silence, because they are complicit in the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

These actors are complicit in the killing of healthcare, humanitarian, UN and, of course, journalists.

  • Can you provide any real assistance to journalists in Gaza today?

Although we are unable to go to the Gaza Strip, we provide 3 types of aid thanks to our friends in the Palestinian Union.

Our branch in Iraq has promised us $250,<> to move journalists and their families out of the Strip without specifying exactly where to go, as well as other diplomatic moves that cannot be talked about now because they are a bit complicated.

In addition, we continue to condemn and organize marches to call on our governments in all parts of the world to put an end to this terrible war.

  • To what extent has the truth been revealed about Israel's disregard for freedom of expression, human rights and journalists in carrying out their work in the field?

I will speak from France, being French, to indicate that we cannot go back to Gaza. She was the only BBC journalist who was able to do this and came out very quickly at the time.

The whole world should thank Palestinian journalists for their courage in relaying reliable information from the field, whether in writing, by phone or video, for 4 months and risking their lives.

  • Will the number of journalists killed since the beginning of the Gaza offensive embolden the audacity to commit these crimes against the voice of truth in other parts of the world?

This is an excellent observation and will give me the opportunity to respond and point out something very important. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has drafted a convention against impunity for the murder of journalists, drafted by international justice experts, and is expected to be adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The text focuses on 3 key points, namely the establishment of a permanent vigilance committee, the obligation of States to achieve results with regard to the protection of press freedom, and the possibility of an international investigation.

As everyone knows, such conventions must be supported by a certain number of governments. Unfortunately, France has not yet made up its mind. The agreement, which was launched just weeks before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, has been frozen for two years.

Today, we hope that the tragedy of our colleagues in the Gaza Strip will revive this agreement and bring it back to the table.

  • Would the international institutions protecting journalists' rights be silent like this if these crimes had happened in another country? Are there political considerations at the expense of journalists' blood?

I don't know the position of all the organizations that claim to defend journalists, they are all non-governmental organizations and some of them live on the aid of countries or major media outlets. They usually have "selective resentments."

Recently, there has been controversy over the actual numbers of journalists killed. The International Federation cited 120 journalists, while the figures of the NGO Reporters Without Borders were very small and its report described 2023 as the "best year" for journalists. Which is wrong, of course.

Source : Al Jazeera