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Call for Protection of the Journalists on the Freedom Flotilla

The Palestinian Journalist Syndicate PJS [1] and the International Federation of Journalists IFJ [2]call for to the protection of the journalists participating on the Freedom Flotilla of the humanitarian aid-carrying ships, which were stormed and stopped by the Israeli war criminals. The Israelis have threatened to confiscate the films with which the Journalists documented the Israeli piracy act and the massacre perpetrated by their military boats and helicopters against civilians, killing at least twenty and wounding dozens.

The PJS directed letters to the international Journalists Unions demanding condemnation and denunciation of the Israeli massacre, and asked them to intervene to protect journalists who are victims of the Israeli oppression and crimes.

The PJS stated that the assault on journalists, peace activists and volunteers is an international crime of racism which should be denounced by the whole world. The world should break the silence on these violations and expose the policies of the racist extremists, the Israeli right-wing zionists and their crimes, which confirms the continued violation of international laws and legal precepts.

The PJS greeted and expressed its solidarity with all the satellite TV crews and the journalists from all newspapers of Arab and foreign media participating in the humanitarian flotilla, noting that their solidarity is respected by our nation and raises our morale while we suffer under the continued crimes, violations of humanity, indecency, and siege of the Israeli occupation.

On the other hand the International Federation of Palestinian journalists expressed its shock about the Israeli crime and said that there are journalists among the in a statement: “The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today reacted with shock at the news of the brutal attacks on civilians, including journalists, by Israeli forces in the assault on a flotilla that yesterday tried to breach the military blockade of the Gaza coastline in Palestine.

The IFJ said that reports of casualties – including possible deaths of media staff – were unconfirmed and a curtain of secrecy drawn around the incident by the Israeli authorities was increasing anxiety among friends and relatives. The IFJ is calling for an urgent and comprehensive international investigation into the incident and for the information blackout to be lifted.

“We join the European Union in demanding a full inquiry which must be independent in order to be credible. We condemn any attempt at the blackout and censorship of news by the Israeli authorities which is hindering journalists from giving an accurate account of what is happening,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.

The IFJ believes that 20 journalists and media staff from a number of different countries were on board when the attacks took place, according to Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.  He said the IFJ is fully investigating the incident and plans to raise the issue at a special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council planned for Geneva on Wednesday. The IFJ is also writing today to the Israeli government warning them about their responsibility vis-à-vis the security of the journalists on the flotilla and is asking its member union in Israel to take the matter up with the authorities.

“The international community must respond immediately to this outrage,” said White.  “The rights of journalists in conflict zones have been particularly highlighted by the United Nations and members states cannot stand by when one state acts in a reckless and dangerous manner.”

Notably, Al-Jazeera announced the names of their detainees on the Freedom Flotilla ship: Abbas Nasir, Osman Al-Betiary, Mohamed Fall, Ali Sabri, Andre Khalil, Jamal Al-Shayal, Essam Zaatar, Wasemah Ben Saleh. Al-Jazeera demanded that Israel release it’s journalists and cameramen and all the detainee journalists