By Nour Abu Aisha
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least 181 Palestinian journalists have been injured since Mar. 30, when Gazans began staging almost-daily rallies along the Gaza-Israel security fence, the Journalists Support Committee (JSC) said Wednesday.
In a Wednesday statement, the JSC — a non-profit organization comprised of Arab writers and journalists — described the high number of injuries as “shocking to anyone who advocates for press freedom”.
The JSC has documented the injury of 44 journalists by Israeli army gunfire since Mar. 30, saying the extent of these injuries varied from “moderate” to “lethal”.
According to the committee, at least two journalists have been killed by Israeli army gunfire — while a third had to have a limb amputated — since the rallies began more than three months ago.
Over the same period, the JSC said, another 40 reporters were directly targeted with teargas canisters, “causing severe burns and bone fractures”.
Meanwhile, at least 110 journalists were adversely affected by teargas, including 27 female journalists, the committee said, going on to note that at least six press vehicles had been targeted by gas bombs fired by Israeli troops.
“The deliberate targeting of journalists poses a genuine threat to their lives,” read the JSC statement.
“These violations prevent journalists from carrying out their professional responsibility to cover the ongoing peaceful demonstrations,” it added.
Since the rallies in Gaza began on Mar. 30, more than 135 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire.
Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to the 11-year Israeli/Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.