The news agency Reuters, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are blaming an Israeli tank crew for an attack in southern Lebanon on Oct. 13 that killed a Reuters videographer and wounded six others. The videographer was 37-year-old Issam Abdallah. According to an in-depth investigation by Reuters journalists Maya Gebeily, Anthony Deutsch and David Clarke, Israeli officials denied that they target journalists but did not produce any specifics in response to the findings.
The Reuters report is detailed, including numerous images to back up what Gebeily, Deutsch and Clarke found. They wrote:
Reuters spoke to more than 30 government and security officials, military experts, forensic investigators, lawyers, medics and witnesses to piece together a detailed account of the incident. The news agency reviewed hours of video footage from eight media outlets in the area at the time and hundreds of photos from before and after the attack, including high-resolution satellite images.
Especially disturbing is this: “The group of seven reporters from AFP, Al Jazeera and Reuters were all wearing blue flak jackets and helmets, most with ‘PRESS’ written on them in white letters.”
The war between Israel and Hamas — which has included forays into Lebanon, where Hamas ally Hezbollah is based — has proved to be unusually deadly for the press, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. As of today, CPJ investigations show that “at least 63 journalists and media workers were among the more than 18,000 killed” since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 people in Israel and took more than 200 hostages. Of those 63 media workers who lost their lives, 56 were Palestinian, four Israeli and three Lebanese.
CPJ notes that the Israeli Defense Forces have said they can’t guarantee the safety of journalists in the Gaza Strip. That’s unacceptable, and I hope the Biden administration pressures the Israeli government to protect media workers — as well as innocent civilians, thousands of whom have been killed as a result of Israel’s overwhelming response to Hamas’ terrorism.