Amid continuing violent clashes in Jerusalem with Palestinian reporters among the victims and Israeli airforce attacks on media outlets in Gaza City, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns Israel's disproportionate use of force against journalists, who should under no circumstances be treated as parties to the armed conflict.
At least seven journalists were injured by rubber bullets fired by Israeli soldiers trying to remove demonstrators from the Temple Mount on 7 May. Four Palestinian freelancers who were covering the clashes -- Saleh Zighari, Atta Awisat, Baraah Abo Ramouz and Abdul Afu Zughayer -- were among those injured by bullet impacts.
The same day, Israeli police attacked Palestinian freelancer Ibraheem Sinjlawi four times to prevent him filming clashes between residents and police in Sheikh Jarrah, the East Jerusalem neighbourhood where an imminent court decision on the eviction of Palestinians trigged the wave of violence currently engulfing the Holy City.
Mahmoud Maatan and Ahmed Al-Safdi were briefly arrested in connection with of their coverage of the previous day's clashes.
Three journalists working for the Turkish news agency Anadolu -- Turkish photographer Turgut Alp Boyraz and Palestinian photographers Mustafa Al-Kharouf and Faiz Abu Rmeleh -- were among those hit.
A stun grenade was fired at Turkish photographer Esat Firas on 10 May, while teargas grenades were fired at freelancers Usaid Amarneh, Mohammad Samreen, Liwa Abu Armila, Ethar Abu Gharbia and Ahmed Jaradat. A video circulating the same days showed Palestinian freelance photographer Rami Al-Khatib being pressed against a wall and beaten by two Israeli policemen.
"Palestinian journalists, who were already struggling to work in the conditions imposed by the Israeli authorities, are once again on the front line when tension erupts," said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF's Middle East desk. "We urge the Israeli authorities to desist from this disproportionate use of forces against Palestinian reporters, who should on no account be treated as if they were parties to the conflict."
After Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem, Israeli airstrikes in the early hours of 12 May destroyed the Al-Jawhara Tower, a 10-storey building in Gaza City that housed 14 media outlets including the Palestine Daily News newspaper and the pan-Arab TV channel Al-Araby.
Yesterday, an Israeli airstrike destroyed Gaza City's Al-Shorouk Tower, a 14-storey building that housed seven media outlets including the Al-Aqsa radio and TV broadcaster. The Israel Defence Forces said they were "striking Hamas weapons stores hidden inside civilian buildings in Gaza."
Israel is ranked 86th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.