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Israel excuses soldiers who killed Reuters cameraman in Gaza



August 13, 2008

Gaza / PNN ľ Israeli soldiers opened fire on Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana'a in April. They blew his body to bits with a tank shell while killing and injuring four to eight others at the same time in the central Gaza Strip. They were between the ages of 12 and 20 years old.

Israeli forces have "cleared" the Israeli soldiers involved in the murder of any "wrong-doing," saying to the Israeli press that the cameraman was mistaken for a member of the armed resistance.

There are numerous eyewitnesses who have attested to the contrary, and even the Israeli Foreign Press Association fears that this decision will lead to more attacks on journalists, as reported on Wednesday by the Israeli press.

The Reuters News Agency is horrified at this "hideous" act. Numerous Palestinian, foreign and Israeli journalists have been the targets of Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Several have been imprisoned, many injured, some deported, and others killed.

The soldiers who killed Shana'a will not face any legal repercussions in the Israeli courts. However, lawyers specializing in international humanitarian law could take those soldiers and their commanders to The Hague for war crimes.

The Israeli military position is that the soldiers could not see the difference between a cameraĺs tripod and a weapon. However, as has been stated by many from the past through the present, "the pen is mightier than the sword."

The Reuters car was also fired upon, although it was well marked with signs reading "press."

Reuters said on Wednesday that it is "severely disturbed," and that "this result severely restricts the freedom of the media in covering the conflict when [journalists] are fired at by the soldiers to kill people virtually without ascertaining whether or not they are opening fire on journalists."

Twenty-four year old Shana'a was 1.5 kilometers away from the tank where he stood for several minutes preparing his camera, and filming. He actually managed to film his own death as the camera kept working as he fell to the ground. The Israelis fired a tank shell that split into a multitude of pieces, killing and injuring those around him.

The Israeli captain said, "The tank crew was unable to determine the nature of the object." The Israeli military has one of the most sophisticated caches of weaponry in the world.

Shana'a was also wearing a blue flak jacket with the word press in bold letters, while the same was on his car.

The Israeli military claims they did not see the words "press," however journalists in Gaza confirm that members of the armed resistance rarely wear flak jackets, certainly not the blue type that journalists do, and that they are not marked with the word "press."

Reuters has sent an angered inquiry to the Israeli military.

:: Article nr. 46414 sent on 14-aug-2008 18:42 ECT


Link: english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3348&Itemid=1

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