Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians since October 2023 with bombings, shootings, and deliberate starvation. Additionally, the IDF has killed 234 aid workers and 95 journalists. This is the highest number of killings of aid workers and journalists ever recorded by a single country since global tracking began. One organization that is deliberately targeted by Israel is UNRWA, a UN agency established in 1949, which provides life-saving supplies and health care services to Palestinians in Gaza. 

In the last 6 months, the IDF has killed more than 165 UNRWA workers and bombed at least 150 UNRWA facilities. Israel also falsely accused the relief organization’s employees of terrorism, which caused at least 10 Western countries to immediately suspend their funding. Israel has never provided proof of its terror claims, and a massive international investigation concluded on April 22 there is no evidence of ties between UNRWA workers and terrorism

Despite overwhelming proof that Israel lied about UNRWA to decimate international funding and ensure its genocide of Palestinians destroys as many lives as possible, the United States still has not resumed funding.

Please consider giving to UNRWA to fight this devastating genocide, especially when our government will not.

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Israel Has Killed Record Numbers of Journalists & Aid Workers in 6 Months

 

Bloodied press vest of a Palestinian journalist killed by Israel

Palestinian journalists hold the bloodied press vest of a fellow journalist who was killed by an Israeli airstrike on October 9, 2023. This funeral procession marked the deaths of three Palestinian journalists, Saeed Al-Taweel, Mohammed Subh, and Hisham Alnwajha, who were all killed in the same attack. (Source)

April 17, 2024 ~ By Shari Rose

Updated May 1, 2024

Since October 7, Israel has killed 95 journalists, 92 of whom are Palestinian. It’s also killed 234 aid workers in the same span. These are the most killings of journalists and aid workers ever committed by a single country since recording began.

Since Hamas’ terror attack against Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 Israelis, Israel has killed more than 34,356 Palestinians through airstrikes, bombings, shootings, and forced starvation. The United Nations reported on April 15 that more than 14,500 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel in the last six months. 

Because the resources in Gaza that typically track these death tolls, such as hospitals and media organizations, have been destroyed or dismantled by Israel, the actual number of Palestinians killed so far is likely far higher, but it may take more months yet until the true toll is determined. On-the-ground journalists are often an integral part of documenting civilian deaths in conflict zones, but they themselves have become targets of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

How Many Journalists Has Israel Killed Since October 2023?

Established in 1981, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is a nonprofit organization that reports on free press violations in war zones, repressive countries, and established democracies. As part of that mission, it tracks and records global killings of journalists each year. 

As of April 17, 2024 CPJ has confirmed that at least 97 journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza since October 7. Of those 97 journalists killed:

  • 92 are Palestinian 
  • 3 are Lebanese 
  • 2 are Israeli 

All 95 of the Palestinian and Lebanese journalists were confirmed to have been killed by Israeli forces. The two Israeli journalists were killed by Hamas on October 7. Additionally, another 16 journalists have been injured in bombings and shootings, all committed by the IDF. CPJ calls these killings of journalists in Gaza “the deadliest period for journalists” since the organization began tracking these numbers in the early 1990s. The only country that came close to approaching this death toll was Iraq, where 56 journalists were killed in 2006.

In its ongoing report that tracks the killings of journalists in Gaza, CPJ says that investigating the circumstances of these deaths is particularly difficult because these journalists are often killed alongside their families, who typically provide information about their deceased loved ones. Furthermore, CPJ points to Israel’s habit of stonewalling after its soldiers kill media workers, saying, “Israeli military authorities adamantly deny targeting journalists or provide only scant information when they acknowledge press killings.”

Evidence Shows Israeli Forces Target and Kill Journalists with Precision

While conflict zones are understandably dangerous areas for journalists in any region, ample evidence demonstrates that Israel is not accidentally shelling journalists during the course of war, but rather purposefully targeting and killing those who are covering the actions of Israeli soldiers on the ground.

For example, an investigation by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon found that Israeli forces directly targeted a group of “clearly identifiable journalists” on October 13 and killed a Reuters reporter named Issam Abdallah by firing two 120mm rounds with a tank. Six other journalists were injured in the same attack. The UN report found that no fire was exchanged across the border between Israel and Lebanon for 40 minutes before the Israeli tank suddenly opened fire on the group of journalists. The February 27 report concludes that “the reason for the strikes on the journalists is not known.”

Journalist Issam Abdallah killed by Israeli tank

Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah was killed by an Israeli tank on October 13, 2023. (Source)

In another instance of targeted killings against journalists, Israel acknowledged that its military forces targeted and killed two journalists who were driving to an assignment in southern Gaza  in January 2024. Hamza Al Dahdouh was a journalist working for Al Jazeera, and Mustafa Thuraya was a freelance videographer working with Agence France Press. Al Dahdouh is the son of Al Jazeera’s bureau chief, who also lost his wife, daughter, son, and grandson in an earlier Israeli airstrike on October 25. 

Wael Al Dahdouh mourns the deaths of his immediate family

Wael Al Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief, views the bodies of his wife, daughter, and son after Israel bombed the home they were staying in on October 25. One day later, Al Dahdouh said in a press conference that Israel told his family the area was safe, but “death followed them, the targeting followed them, the airstrikes followed them.” (Source)

After the killings, Israel accused both deceased journalists of being terrorists, which is a common pattern performed by Israel after it kills nonmilitary targets. CPJ’s report from May 2023 covers this trend, detailing several cases where the Israeli government posthumously accuses the journalists it kills of terrorism despite “no credible evidence” ever being produced.

CPJ is now investigating the killings of a dozen other journalists to determine if they were targeted by the IDF. One such case is the death of Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa, who bled to death from an Israeli airstrike in December 2023 after Israeli soldiers blocked efforts to evacuate him.

Below is a small sample of the scores of Palestinian journalists who have been killed by Israel in the last three months alone (see the ongoing list from CPJ here).

Mohamed Yaghi, a 30-year-old Palestinian freelance photojournalist, was killed in his home on February 23 after an Israeli airstrike on Az-Zawayda town in Central Gaza. Yaghi died alongside his wife, daughter, and 34 other family members. Entire generations of a family wiped out in one Israeli bombing. 

Alaa Al-Hams, a 35-year-old Palestinian journalist for the local Palestinian News Agency SND, succumbed to her injuries on February 12 after an Israeli bombing of her family’s home in Rafah city in December 2023. A total of 10 of Al-Hams family members were also killed in the airstrike.

Furneral for Alaa Al-Hams, Palestinian journalist killed by Israel

Mourners pay respects to journalist Alaa Al-Hams who died on February 12 after Israel bombed her family’s home two months earlier. (Source)

Abdul Rahman Saima, a Palestinian photojournalist for technology news outlet Raqami TV, was killed by an Israeli airstrike on the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza on March 14. 

Yazan al-Zuweidi, a Palestinian journalist and camera operator for Cairo-based broadcaster Al-Ghad, was killed in an Israeli airstrike while on the way to visit his home after heavy bombings by Israel. Al-Zuweidi’s brother and cousin were killed in the same January 14 attack.

Nafez Abdel Jawad, director for the official Palestine television station called Palestine TV, was killed alongside his son by an Israeli airstrike on a home in the central Gaza Strip they were staying in. Israel’s missile strike on February 8 killed a total of 14 people, including 5 children.

Mohammed Atallah, a 24-year-old Palestinian editor for Al-Resalah and writer for Raseef22, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Beach refugee camp in northern Gaza City on January 29. An unidentified number of his family members were killed in the same strike.

Why Is Israel Killing So Many Journalists and Aid Workers?

Genocide is much easier to carry out when there are no witnesses to the atrocities. On-the-ground journalists serve as international witnesses who share the information they’ve gathered with the rest of the world. Accurate, uncensored journalism poses a problem for those who want to commit ethnic cleansing and genocide unimpeded by the international community. 

Israel is targeting journalists for the same reason it’s targeting aid workers: these groups make committing genocide against Palestinians more difficult to do. In fact, Israel has not only killed a record number of journalists in the last six months, it’s also killed a record number of aid workers as well. 

Yearly aid worker deaths shows a massive spike in 2023

The highest number of aid workers killed in a year occurred in 2023, due in large part to Israel’s systematic annihilation of humanitarian workers in the final three months of the year. (Source)

Israel has killed 234 aid workers since October 7. Aid Worker Security Database and Humanitarian Outcomes reports this is the highest number of deaths of aid workers ever recorded globally.

Aid workers provide humanitarian aid in the form of food, medical care, and more to those who are fleeing violence, famine, and war. And as Israel not only continues its carpet bombings and raids of neighborhoods, hospitals (mass graves with hundreds of bodies, many with signs of torture, were found at al-Shifa and Nasser hospitals in April), refugee camps, and schools, it’s also instituting “man-made starvation,” wherein shipments of food and medicine for starving Palestinians are severely restricted on Gaza’s land borders. 

Mass graves at al-Shifa hospital of Palestinians killed by Israel

Workers uncover mass graves with scattered bodies in the ruins of al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility, on April 15 after Israeli military forces waged a two-week siege against the hospital that killed scores of medical personnel and patients. (Source)

It’s no wonder then that Israel is willing to kill aid workers in order to stop that food and medicine from reaching Palestinians. And while the targeted killings of 7 World Central Kitchen workers, including a dual U.S-Canadian citizen, made international headlines on April 1, the killings of hundreds of other aid workers in Gaza has been met with little media coverage in the West.

World Central Kitchen van destroyed by an Israeli missile

The clearly visible logo of World Central Kitchen on a van carrying international aid workers destroyed by an Israeli missile. Seven aid workers and their Palestinian driver were killed. (Source)

Western Media Outlets Are Aggressively Pro-Israel in Coverage, Despite Atrocity After Atrocity Committed by Israeli Forces

Did you know that Israel bombed a playground and market in a Palestinian refugee camp on April 16 that killed at least 11 people, including children? If you live in the West, you probably didn’t hear about it. 

With no regard for its self-proclaimed ideals of objective reporting and justice for oppressed populations, major American media outlets and Western media as a whole has censored, downplayed, or entirely ignored Israel’s ongoing genocidal actions, even after scores of Palestinian journalists, aid workers, and civilians are killed each month. 

In a now-infamous memo from the New York Times leaked earlier this month, reporters for the esteemed publication are instructed to avoid using the word Palestine “except in very rare cases” and to restrict the use of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.”

When examining NYT headlines, these patterns readily emerge. For instance, when Israel kills Palestinians, you’ll see events portrayed as rumors with language such as “Gazans say”, “witnesses say”, or “reports suggest.” But when Israel sustains an attack, such as Iran’s retaliatory strike after Israel bombed their embassy on April 1, the New York Times instantly records this strike as fact, ignores Israel’s first embassy strike that killed 7 people, and frames Iran’s actions as “unprecedented” in the headline:

Headline from NYT that ignores Israel's initial embassy attack and calls Iran's attack "unprecedented."

Headline from the New York Times on April 15 that calls Iran’s strike “unprecedented” and fails to mention Israel’s attack on Iran’s embassy in Syria two weeks earlier. (Source)

Compare this matter-of-fact portrayal that identifies Iran as the aggressor with a NYT story from November 5, 2023, where the IDF launched airstrikes at two refugee camps in Central Gaza that killed 40 Palestinians:

New York Times headline about Israeli airstrike that fails to mention Israel or the airstrike

A New York Times headline from November 5 about an Israeli airstrike which killed 40 Palestinians at a refugee camp that fails to mention Israel, Palestinians, and the death toll. (Source)

This NYT headline reads “Explosion Gazans Say Was Airstrike Leaves Many Casualties in Dense Neighborhood.” Notice the doubt that the New York Times sows into this headline. The paper suggests there is a gray area regarding whether or not this attack was an airstrike at all, or perhaps a sentient explosion that happened of its own accord. It labels Palestinians as “Gazans,” uses softer language to describe the killings as an unspecified number of “casualties,” fails to acknowledge that this target was actually a refugee camp, and does not include a mention of Israel.   

This is the rule, not the exception, when it comes to covering the persistent massacres that Israel inflicts upon Palestinians. Take another example of censorship from the “newspaper of record”: 

New York Times headline that fails to identify Israel as the cause of the famine in Gaza.

NYT headline from March 12 that does not identify Israel as the culprit behind widespread starvation in Gaza and again fails to acknowledge Palestinians as the victims of this manufactured famine. (Source)

This NYT story from March 12 has a headline that reads “The Daily Hunt for Food in Gaza.” Neither this headline nor featured introductory sentence uses the word “Palestine” or “Palestinians,” and it does not mention “Israel,” who is in fact causing this man-made famine. Starvation is portrayed as an event that seemingly occurred out of thin air, rather than an intended consequence of an ongoing genocide. 

This is but a drop in the bucket of the extreme bias that not just the New York Times, but The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and so many other legacy newspapers exercise when covering Israel and Palestine. The Intercept compiled an in-depth report from January 2024 that measures this disproportionate coverage and use of language. For example, it found that “the term ‘slaughter’ was used by editors and reporters to describe the killing of Israelis versus Palestinians 60 to 1, and ‘massacre’ was used to describe the killing of Israelis versus Palestinians 125 to 2.” 

Pro-Israel framing by the New York Times in headlines

Assal Rad, author of “The State of Resistance,” highlights pro-Israel framing by the New York Times and rewrites headlines to more accurately describe the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians. (Source)

This severe pro-Israel, anti-Palestine phenomenon in media coverage is nothing new in the United States. In June 2021, 500 journalists from around the world signed an open letter denouncing U.S. coverage of Israel and Palestine, that called for major American media outlets to “recognize that obfuscating Israel’s oppression of Palestinians fails this industry’s own objectivity standards.”

And while Western media outlets continue to hide and censor what is happening in Gaza from the larger public, Israel’s nearly-daily atrocities against Palestinians endure. This is genocide through and through, and the U.S. seems hell-bent to keep sending Israel billions of dollars so it can carry on its genocide without a hitch.

Conclusion

I live in the United States. My taxes are paying for a genocide that I want to stop. But I cannot stop it. Both major political parties that run this country are showing no signs of abating their full-throated support of this genocide. Despite national polling that shows more than half of Americans disapprove of Israeli military actions in Gaza, our politicians are receiving millions of dollars from pro-Israel lobbying groups like AIPAC to continue funding this genocide against Palestinians. 

AIPAC money sent to lawmakers in 2024 election cycle

The top recipients of money from pro-Israel groups including AIPAC during the 2024 election cycle so far. This list from Open Secrets includes lawmakers at the state and federal level. (Source)

In fact, the few genuine progressives who have openly condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza and called for a ceasefire, such as Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, and Illhan Omar are now being targeted directly by AIPAC, which is expected to spend $100 million to attempt to unseat them this November. 

Just yesterday on April 16, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that condemned the slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as antisemitic. This slogan began in the 1960s when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes by Israeli forces after the state of Israel was established. It’s been a common rallying-cry for pro-Palestinian groups and has faced a handful of bans by different governments since October 2023. 

I argue that the majority of House members who voted to label this slogan as antisemitic do not actually care about antisemitism at all, but rather are using this opportunity to further silence dissent against Israel’s genocide. This action appears to be part of larger, arguably dystopian efforts to define any argument that supports the Palestinian people as antisemitic and label anyone who calls for the end of the genocide as Hamas supporters.

We must be able to define Israel’s genocide as such without accusations of antisemitism or support for Hamas. If we cannot even call the sustained, indiscriminate killings of more than 33,000 men, women, and children in six months as genocide, how in the world can we stop it?

Shari Rose

Shari Rose

Owner of Blurred Bylines💖💜💙

I created Blurred Bylines in an effort to bring stories from marginalized perspectives into the national conversation. As a former copy editor at the largest newspapers in Arizona and Colorado, I’ve seen first-hand the potential of accurate and accessible information to change minds and affect national policy. 

My stories focus on individuals fighting for justice and their own rights as Americans, survivors of violent crime who rebuilt their lives after tragedy, shifting political trends that seek to strip the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups of their freedoms, and forgotten figures in U.S. history whose fights for equality persist today.

Through writing these articles, I stumbled upon the power of search engine optimization (SEO) to attract interested audiences to my writing. In addition to the ad-free and paywall-free stories I write at Blurred Bylines, I also perform SEO services for businesses, nonprofits, and fellow freelancers around the country so they can grow their organizations through search engines. 

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