GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Wael Dahdouh’s resilience is undeniable. Despite enduring personal tragedy, the Al Jazeera reporter has continued to focus on the suffering of others in the midst of Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza.
In October, Dahdouh’s wife, seven-year-old daughter, 15-year-old son, and one-year-old grandson were killed in an attack. Still, he continued reporting. Last month, Dahdouh himself was wounded, and his cameraman, Samer Abu Daqqa, was killed in an Israeli bombing of a UN-run school used as a shelter. Then, just recently, an Israeli drone strike killed Dahdouh’s eldest son, 27-year-old Hamza, who also worked for Al Jazeera, along with another journalist.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) calculates that Israel has killed more than 70 media workers in the latest war in Gaza, making it the deadliest conflict for journalists in decades. The CPJ says the scale and circumstances of the killings, including direct threats to reporters and their families by Israeli officials, is evidence that Palestinian reporters in Gaza are being targeted.
Furthermore, reports indicate that international news organizations are relying on Palestinian reporters targeted by Israel to provide coverage of the situation in Gaza. This is troubling as many news organizations appear unwilling to directly address the pattern of killing that provides strong evidence of a war crime. As the CPJ’s evidence appears to show, this pattern of killing cannot be ignored.
It is clear from the evidence and the experiences of journalists like Wael Dahdouh that there is a pattern of targeting reporters in the region, and it is imperative that this issue be addressed and rectified. The lives and safety of journalists, no matter their nationality, should be a priority in conflict zones. The international community needs to hold those responsible for targeting journalists accountable and ensure the protection of the press in all situations.