On Thursday, an Israeli airstrike killed Wael Abu Fannouna, Palestinian journalist and director of Al-Quds Today. Fannouna is one of more than 119 Palestinian reporters who Israel has targeted and killed since its military launched their genocidal siege of Gaza.
Al-Quds Today said on Telegram Thursday that it “mourns the journalist colleague Wael Rajab Abu Fannouna, the general director of the channel, in a heinous Zionist targeting in the city of Gaza.”
According to the International Federation of Journalists, Israel has killed more than one media worker a day since October 7, accounting for 72 percent of all media deaths worldwide — more than any other conflict in any country in over 30 years.
“Since 7 October, more than one journalist a day has lost their lives during the war in Gaza, a scale and pace of loss of media professionals’ lives without precedent,” the group said in a press release. “In 2023 Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip have been the victims of indiscriminate bombing by the Israeli army. The IFJ calls on international authorities to ensure that international law is respected and to put an end to the massacre of journalists in Gaza.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has demanded that Israel cease the targeting of Palestinian journalists, and has called for an impartial investigation into the Israeli drone strike that killed freelance journalist Mustafa Thuraya and Al Jazeera reporter Hamza Al Dahdouh earlier this month.
“CPJ is particularly concerned about an apparent pattern of targeting of journalists and their families by the Israeli military,” CPJ said in a statement in December.
“For every day without a definitive ceasefire, 100 children on average have been killed. There can never be any justification for killing children,” said Jason Lee, Save the Children’s Country Director for Palestine. “The situation in Gaza is monstrous and a blight on our common humanity.”
Israeli airstrikes have also injured 57,000 Palestinians and left 7,000 people missing, presumably under the rubble, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“This is a devastating and heartbreaking milestone. It is beyond sickening to even contemplate,” said William Bell, Head of Middle East Policy and Advocacy at Christian Aid. “ How many more lives will be lost, homes destroyed, and childhoods shattered before leaders see sense and focus on finding peace?”
Currently, 85 percent of Gaza’s population is internally displaced and facing regular telecommunications blackouts, as well as food, water, and medicine shortages brought on by Israel’s blockade. In fact, Palestinians are facing the worst food shortage ever witnessed by the UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), with 570,000 people experiencing a famine that was manufactured through Israel’s starvation tactics.
“Today’s shocking figures describing the high levels of starvation in Gaza are a direct, damning, and predictable consequence of Israel’s policy choices — and President Biden’s unconditional support and diplomatic approach,” Abby Maxman, President and chief executive of Oxfam America, said in a statement.
Less than 4 percent of freshwater is drinkable in Gaza, and the ocean is polluted by sewage caused by fuel shortages that have led to the shutdown of wastewater and desalination facilities in the city. In October, an internal report by the U.S. State Department found that 52,000 pregnant people and over 30,000 babies under the age of six months old in Gaza were drinking contaminated water. That number is now likely much higher as conditions in Gaza worsen due to Israel’s escalating attacks.
“The water situation in Gaza is catastrophic,” OCHA said on ReliefWeb in November. “97 [percent] of Gaza’s water is unfit for human consumption.”
According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), malnutrition, lack of sanitation and hygiene, and a collapsing health system in Gaza have led to soaring rates of infectious diseases. Of the 1.9 million people currently displaced, 1.4 million are staying in overcrowded shelters where there is only one shower for 4500 people and one toilet for every 220 people. Israel’s attacks on hospitals and blockade on medical supplies has also resulted in a collapsing hospital system, medicine shortages and a surge in deaths from treatable illnesses.
Advocates say that the targeting of journalists, in tandem with Israel’s attacks on vital infrastructure in Gaza — including hospitals, agriculture, culture workers, and shelters — is part of a genocidal campaign to erase Palestine and Palestinians completely.
“Israel has destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, made the Gaza Strip uninhabitable, has erased entire families, doctors, journalists … if that’s not enough to take high-level diplomatic, political and economic measures — what more do you need,” Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on Palestine, told Spanish daily El Pais on Friday.
South Africa recently filed a case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel, asserting that Israel is committing a genocide in the Gaza Strip. The Organization of Islamic Countries, Malaysia, Turkey, Jordan, Bolivia, The Maldives, Namibia and Pakistan, the Arab League, Colombia and Brazil have expressed support for South Africa’s case. Additionally, Indonesia and Slovenia have joined proceedings in an ICJ case initiated by the UN General Assembly in 2022, requesting that the ICJ issue an advisory opinion on Israel’s occupation of Palestine.