Lens on the Ground: Journalists’ Toll Reporting from Gaza

November 9, 2023 Updated January 5, 2024 Articles

Mohamed Abu Hassira. Yahya Abu Manih. Mohamed Al Jaja. Mohammed Abu Hatab. Majd Fadl Arandas. Iyad Matar. Imad Al-Wahidi. Majek Kashko. Nazmi Al-Nadim. Yasser Abu Namous. Duaa Sharaf. Saed Al-Halabi. Ahmed Abu Mhadi. Salma Mkhaimer. Mohammed Imad Labad. Roshdi Sarraj. Roee Idan. Mohammed Ali. Khalil Abu Aathra. Sameeh Al-Nady. Mohammad Balousha. Issam Bhar. Abdulhadi Habib. Yousef Maher Dawas. Salam Mema. Husam Mubarak. Issam Abdallah. Ahmed Shehab. Mohamed Fayez Abu Matar. Saeed al-Taweel. Mohammed Sobh. Hisham Alnwajha. Assad Shamlakh. Shai Regev. Ayelet Arnin. Yaniv Zohar. Mohammad Al-Salhi. Mohammad Jarghoun. Ibrahim Mohammad Lafi.

As of November 8th, 2023, 39 journalists and media crew working on the ground in the Gaza Strip and surrounding region have been killed in less than a month. Of the 39 killed, 34 were Palestinian, four Israeli, and one Lebanese. The entire family of Wael Al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, was killed by an Israeli airstrike on October 24th as the family was sheltering in the Nuseirat refugee camp. Seven days later, an Israeli airstrike targeting the Jabalia refugee camp claimed the lives of 19 family members of Al Jazeera broadcast engineer Mohamed Abu Al-Qumsan. Palestinian photojournalist Mohammed Alaloul was working on November 5th when he heard the news that the Al Maghazi refugee camp was hit by an Israeli airstrike, killing four of his five children. On November 7th, Palestinian journalist Mohammad Abu Hassira was killed along with forty-two members of his family following an Israeli air raid that targeted their home.

Since the attack by Hamas on October 7th, 2.2 million individuals living in the Gaza Strip have endured unending bombings and airstrikes by Israel, which has targeted hospitals, refugee camps, schools, and residential buildings. With the numbers growing by the second, more than ten thousand Palestinians have been killed, including more than four thousand children. Over thirty-two thousand people have been injured, and more than one million have been displaced. 

Media has acted as both a vessel of information for events unfolding in the region as well as a source of misinformation, censorship, online attacks, and blatant discrimination. Journalists on the ground are at increased risk as their lives and the lives of their colleagues and loved ones are under constant threat. Millions of social media users have relied on local journalists, like Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza and Gazan filmmaker Bisan Owda, as sources of information on the ground, providing continued updates through their social media platforms. Most recently, Motaz learned of the killing of at least 15 members of his family following a targeted Israeli strike on their home in the Deir al-Balah refugee camp. With a platform of more than 3 million followers on Instagram, Motaz has also become a victim of online content suppression after the platform temporarily suspended his account. Motaz, like many who have outwardly posted content in support of Palestinians, has been met with shadowbans, account suspensions, and deletions across social media. 

The world has yet to see justice for the 2022 killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh after she was brutally murdered while working in the Jenin refugee camp. In the span of one month, the world has seen a glimpse of what Palestinians have endured since the 1948 establishment of Israel as a state. The world is witnessing a genocide incited by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people, and as journalists and media crew document the horrific events impacting their communities in real time, Israel’s response has been to target those giving voice to Palestinians. Going beyond shadowbanning and content suppression, Israel is directly targeting journalists, killing their colleagues and loved ones, and threatening their livelihoods.

Journalists are a threat to the manufactured consent that Israel has fostered within American voters. The last month has shown that international law and rules of war meant to protect journalists have failed. The United States is complicit through its decades of funding and unequivocal military support of an international bad-faith actor. But despite all this, as we have seen through the lenses of Motaz and others, the truth will come to light. And through the collective efforts of a global civil society, Palestinians can achieve their liberation. 

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