The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says in a damning new report that the Israeli military has taken no accountability for its killings of at least 20 journalists, 18 of whom were Palestinian, over the past 20 years.
The press freedom watchdog said it had found “a pattern of the killings of journalists by [Israeli military]” in its report, Deadly Pattern, published on Tuesday.
“No one has ever been charged or held accountable for these deaths … severely undermin[ing] the freedom of the press,” it added.
The CPJ said Palestinians make up 80 percent of journalists and media workers killed by the Israeli military.
“Those figures are partly a reflection of broader trends in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; over the last 15 years, 21 times more Palestinians than Israelis have been killed, according to United Nations figures,” added the report.
The report also highlighted that “Israeli officials discount evidence and witness claims, often appearing to clear soldiers for the killings while inquiries are still in progress”, adding that the Israeli military’s inquiries of the killings are a “black box”, with results kept secret.
When probes do take place, the Israeli military often takes months or years to investigate killings and families of the mostly Palestinian journalists have little recourse inside Israel to pursue justice,” the CPJ said.
Hagai El-Ad, executive director of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, said in the report that Israel’s examination of its soldiers’ actions, was a less serious inquiry than a “theater of investigation”.
“They want to make it look credible. They go through the motions, things take a lot of time, a lot of paperwork,” he told CPJ. “But the bottom line … is almost blanket impunity for security forces.”