On May 27, the national officers, chapter chairs and delegates of the National Writers Union completed voting unanimously to join the case filed by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) with the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging Israel with war crimes for targeting journalists. We call all US press organizations to join in solidarity with Palestinian journalists in the face of Israeli attacks.
Brutal attacks of Israeli security forces led to the press, professional, and solidarity organizations take action globally. The IFJ, the PJS, and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), working with leading human rights lawyers from Bindmans LLP and Doughty Street Chambers, submitted a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in early April 2022.
The ICC’s Prosecutor’s Office (OPT) formally acknowledged receipt of the complaint on April 25, 2022. The complaint, which alleges war crimes against journalists by Israel’s army and police, will now be considered by the OPT and could lead to a formal investigation and prosecution.
On Wednesday, May 11, Israeli forces killed Shireen Abu Akleh, a longtime TV correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, while she was covering an Israeli army raid in the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank.
Her targeted murder sparked global outrage against the Israeli forces. More shock and condemnation came when on May 13, Israeli police brutalized pallbearers at her funeral precession in Jerusalem, attacking mourners with batons.
As a US labor union, we are aware of our role since we know how the US government has been a major funder and weapons supplier of Israeli forces. On Saturday, May 21, NWU President, Larry Goldbetter, did a brief interview with Al Jazeera. They asked what he thought about Secretary of State Blinken and 51 Democrats calling for an investigation into the targeted assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh. He told them, “Don’t get your hopes up. The politicians are only speaking up because Shireen was a US citizen. They have said nothing about the other 45 journalists killed since 2000, the bombing of the media towers in Gaza last year, or the teenager killed in an Israeli raid last Friday.”
The complaint submitted to the ICC details the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists on behalf of four named victims – Ahmed Abu Hussein, Yaser Murtaja, Muath Amarneh, and Nedal Eshtayeh. They were killed or maimed by Israeli snipers while covering demonstrations in Gaza. All were wearing marked PRESS vests at the time they were shot.
The complaint also details the targeting of media and bombing of the Al Shorouk and Al Jawhara Towers in Gaza City in May 2021, including the cases of Alam News, Al Hayat Newspapers, Mayadeen Media, Al Bawaba 24, and others. Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder will be added to the complaint.