NWU Statement on the Attacks on Rafah

The National Writers Union is devastated by the recent Israeli airstrikes on Rafah, where more than 1.2 million people are currently sheltering. We are outraged at the dozens of Palestinians who were burned to death by U.S.-made bombs in tent encampments that were designated “safe zones.” These actions violate the International Court of Justice’s recent order that Israel end its military operations in Rafah, following the court’s January ruling that Israel is plausibly committing genocide in Gaza. Since the attack on October 7, 2023, that left nearly 1,200 dead, Israel has killed over 35,000 Palestinians and over 100 of our fellow media workers, most in targeted killings

The mass murder of journalists and media workers is especially troubling and is an attempt to conceal what is happening in Gaza. Foreign journalists have been barred from entering Gaza except those embedded with the Israeli Occupation Forces. Palestinian journalists are the only ones reporting on the ground—and paying the ultimate price. On May 5, 2024, Israeli authorities raided Al Jazeera’s office in Jerusalem after the government ordered a shutdown of the station’s local operations. On May 21, 2024, Israeli officials seized broadcasting equipment from the Associated Press and cut its live feed of Gaza (the equipment has been returned).

Earlier this month, we published Red Lines, a report detailing retaliation against media workers for speaking critically about Israel’s war on Gaza. In it, we called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the release of all political prisoners, a halt to U.S. military funding for Israel, and guaranteed access and protection for journalists in the region. We reiterate these demands in light of the attacks on Rafah and renew our commitment to acting in solidarity with our sibling union, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and with the global labor movement following the urgent call from Palestinian trade unions.