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Unprecedented Bloody Violations against Media Freedoms in Palestine during the Month of October
08 November 2023

Ramallah – Nisaa FM - During the month of October 2023, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” monitored an unprecedented record of extremely serious crimes and violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the press, Palestinian journalists, and media freedom in Palestine, most of which were concentrated and most violent and dangerous in the Gaza Strip.

The occupation forces escalated an extremely dangerous escalation in their attacks and targeting of journalists and media freedoms in Palestine, culminating in the killing of 31 journalists since the beginning of the aggression[1] launched by the occupation forces on the Gaza Strip on the 7th of October, knowing that this number is likely to rise every day, in addition to the injuries that many journalists suffered from fragments of missiles and bombs resulting from the ongoing bombing operations against civilians.

The month of October 2023 will be remembered by the Palestinian press and journalists as the most brutal and bloody month to date, as the media movement lost 31 of its cadres, most of whom were targeted while performing their professional duty during field coverage of the barbaric Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, which constitutes the most severe blow to the press and freedom of the media in Palestine.

The killing of these journalists at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces was accompanied by the bombing and destruction of the homes of 44 other journalists. In addition to the bombing, destruction, and targeting of 21 media institutions’ headquarters, the halting of broadcasting and the prevention of the work of 3 media institutions and websites. Also, the attacking and wounding of 22 journalists (including 7 who were injured in the Gaza Strip) and a wide series of assaults that targeted dozens of other journalists and media outlets in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were committed by the Israeli occupation army during the days of the widespread war it launched against the Gaza Strip starting on October 7th, 2023.

Since the seventh of last October, more than 9,227 citizens, most of them women and children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip, and more than 23,561 wounded, in addition to the destruction of thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, and the targeting of the basic infrastructure of the Strip. This toll is not final, and it continues to rise in light of the continued aggression, represented by dropping bombs, shelling missiles, and targeting civilians in excessive use of force, confirms the existence of conclusive evidence of war crimes in the Israeli bombing campaign, which must be urgently investigated.[2] The occupation forces also intensified their aggression against citizens in the West Bank, as the death toll in the West Bank since the beginning of this year rose to more than 340 martyrs, including 132 martyrs since October 7th, in addition to more than 320 wounded.

In addition to the above, the Israeli aggression led to the collapse of the health sector in the Gaza Strip, as a result of the collapse of hospitals that were targeted by bombs and missiles in clear violation of International Humanitarian Law and were no longer able to deal with the number of wounded, in addition to their lack of life-saving medicines and equipment. Since the beginning of the aggression, Israel has imposed a strict siege on civilians in the Gaza Strip and closed the crossings and borders between Israel and Gaza, preventing the entry of food, cutting off water supplies, and stopping the supply of fuel and electricity. The matter did not stop there, it cut off all communications and internet services, which paralyzed all aspects of life and isolated all those in the Gaza Strip from outside it after the rapid depletion of water, medicines, fuel, and electricity, which led to the lack of possible ways to find out what crimes were being committed against civilians, including journalists.[3] Moreover, a large number of media institutions in the Gaza Strip stopped working as a result of the power and Internet outage, while many institutions lost contact with their correspondents inside Gaza.

MADA Center monitored a total of 180 crimes and violations of media freedoms in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including the city of East Jerusalem, during the month of October 2023. The Israeli occupation forces, authorities, and settlers committed 179 of them, and only one violation was committed by Palestinian security services in the West Bank.

It is worth mentioning that the majority of the 179 Israeli attacks and violations that were monitored (whether committed by the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip or those committed in the West Bank, including the city of East Jerusalem) were complex violations, each of which included more than one assault or violation. Many of them also affected a group of journalists or media outlets, making the resulting damage double and much more extensive than the numbers might suggest.