Fighting Anti-Israeli Bias

Item 7



Claim 16: Israel targets Palestinian media workers


Palestine, 45th Session

“The occupation forces and settlers are continuing and increasing their attacks against the civilian population, by targeting media workers…”

Maldives, 43rd Session

“We call upon Israel to refrain from using lethal force against innocent Palestinians including journalists…”

Our Response

UN Watch

Israel has the most free press in the entire Middle East, and accredits many more journalists and media workers than any of its neighboring countries. As former Associated Press correspondent Matti Friedman has pointed out, prior to the Arab Spring, the global news agency had only one regime-approved stringer in all of Syria while it had 40 news-gathering staffers in Israel. During the Arab Spring, there were more AP staffers in Israel than the combined total of news-gathering AP employees in all of the countries where Arab Spring uprisings occurred.[1]

Contrary to the suggestion in the accusations quoted above, Israel does not target media workers. Israel is engaged in an ongoing armed conflict with the Palestinians which is characterized by violence and terrorism. Since 2009, Israel has fought three wars with the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza. In addition, since 2018, Israel has been forced to respond to violent border confrontations along the Gaza border fence, which have been used as a cover for terrorist activity. There have been cases where journalists placed themselves in dangerous situations too close to the violence, were caught in the crossfire and injured or even killed. However, journalists who cover conflict zones are well aware of the dangers.

In addition, there are numerous examples of supposed Palestinian journalists abusing their press credentials to further terrorist activity. When journalist Yasser Murtaja was killed in April 2018 during the Gaza border confrontations, Hamas and the Palestinians exploited his death to launch a propaganda campaign against Israel. However, Yasser Murtaja was proven to be a veteran Hamas operative who continued his Hamas activities up until the time of his death.[2] In the summer of 2014, eight out of 17 purported journalists claimed by Hamas to be killed in the Hamas-Israel conflict were actually Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives, or journalists working for Hamas propaganda networks. [3] Furthermore, only six of the journalists were killed in the course of their journalistic work, while the rest were killed during the fighting in circumstances not related to their journalism.[4] Two of these names were confirmed not to have been killed by the IDF.

In another recent example, in February 2019, the Israeli Security Agency exposed a network of Hamas terrorists from Gaza who posed as media workers for Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV in order to recruit Hamas operatives in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They passed covert messages to the recruits through al-Aqsa TV broadcasts.[5] Other supposed journalists are sympathizers or collaborators with Hamas. Hind Khoudary, who claimed to be a reporter while attending violent confrontations at the Gaza-Israel border— where she posed smiling with men wielding industrial wire-cutters to infiltrate into Israel[6]—was found to have incited Hamas to arrest Gaza peace activist Rami Aman, who was jailed for six months.[7]

Israel has every right to take action against terrorists who pose a security threat, even if they pose as journalists.

[1] Matti Friedman, An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth, Tablet (August 26, 2014),

[2] The killing of Palestinian press photographer Yasser Murtaja by the IDF during the events of the Great March of Return highlighted a phenomenon of operatives of Hamas employed as media personnel, Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (April 11, 2018),

[3] Id.; Yaakov Lappin, ‘Half of Names of Gaza journalist casualties are terror operatives, or members of Hamas media,’ Jerusalem Post (February 12, 2015),

[4]  Id.

[5] Terrorism and the media: Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip who also worked as media personnel were involved in recruiting a terrorist network exposed in Judea and Samaria, Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (February 24, 2019),

[6] Samantha Mandeles, Gaza-based Amnesty Int’l Consultant Accused of Turning In Other Gazans For Video Chat With Israelis, Legal Insurrection (April 16, 2020),

[7] The Disappearance of Rami Aman & Amnesty International – Timeline, UN Watch (May 6, 2020),

UN Watch