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article imageOp-Ed: Israel targets media in Gaza injuring several journalists

By Ken Hanly     Nov 18, 2012 in World
Gaza - The Israeli military extended its range of targets in Gaza Strip to include media operations and buildings used by Hamas but also foreign media outlets. At least six journalists have been wounded according to a health ministry spokesperson.
Israeli warplanes hit the al-Quds TV office in the Showa and Housari building. Witnesses report that there was extensive damage to the building which was evacuated after the first strike. There were two more strikes after that. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said of the attack: "The Israeli army is trying to kill the power of the word in Gaza by operating against reporters and committing war crimes and crimes against humanity."
No doubt, Israel will provide the appropriate rationale for these attacks and they will turn out to have been legitimate military targets. There are many precedents for attacking offensive media sites. Al Jazeera facilities suffered attacks In Iraq in 2003 and media outlets were targeted in Afghanistan in 2001, and Kosovo in 1999. American and American-allied military forces targeted media outlets on the grounds that they constituted propaganda machines integral to hostile regimes.
A notable example was targeting RTS TV and Radio Station in Belgrade in 1999 by NATO. This attack killed 16 media professionals. NATO argued that the communications equipment had dual purpose military and civilian. I think that the next stage of such inference should be that pre-school Palestinian children are legitimate targets. As a video by Chris Hedges illustrates 70 per cent of one group of Palestinian children interviewed said they would volunteer to be suicide martyrs. Obviously these children are potentially dual purpose and it would be simple pro-active self defense to target them. This dual purpose argument will be used by Israel to prevent necessary supplies for rebuilding from entering Gaza in the aftermath of these attacks, on the grounds that some of the supplies have dual use and could be diverted to military purposes.
NATO also argued that RTS was part of the propaganda system associated with the Serbian regime and so was a legitimate target for that reason. No doubt similar reasoning could be used by Israel for targeting al-Quds TV which is a propaganda outlet for Hamas. None of the powerful need worry about war crimes and.targeting news outlets. It has now become almost routine. As the appended video shows, last time around, during Operation Cast lead Israel carried out similar attacks and hit some UN facilities just for good measure.
There was a second air strike on media facilities that struck the al-Shuruq building which houses Sky News, al-Arabiya news, Dubai TV, and an office of al-Aqsa TV that is affiliated with Hamas. A Sky News reporter who was sleeping in his office said that the missile hit shortly before 7 AM. The IDF issued a statement that said: "A communications antenna used by Hamas to carry out terror activity against the state of Israel, was … targeted."
Fortunately, the only collateral damage seems to have been equipment. The IDF could at least have given notice that they were going to target the building. Of course the IDF also blamed the attack on Hamas for placing the antenna on a building housing international media. Many international broadcasters claim they lost equipment in the attack including the German broadcaster ARD, Russia Today, and Sky New Arabia. Germany's public broadcaster ARD; Russia Today, and Sky News Arabia said they lost equipment in the attacks. The director of Reporters without Borders in Paris called the attacks unjustified and also a threat to freedom of information. He asked for an investigation of the raid.
The Israel Foreign Press Association has lodged an official complaint with the Israeli army according to the Independent. There will be no real damaging consequences for these types of attacks and they will continue as happened during Operation Cast Lead.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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