Israel targets Lebanese journalists on live TV

“There is something that looks like a need by the Israelis to target those who report on what is happening on the ground,” said Samir Kassir Foundation’s Ayman Mhanna

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Israel’s military on Monday targeted journalists in southern Lebanon, videos showed, as fighting between Hezbollah and Israel increased along the border.

Several journalists who were wearing visible flack jackets with “Press” written across them were reporting live from the village of Yaroun, a border town in Bint Jbeil. One of the videos obtained by Al Arabiya English showed the aftermath of what appeared to be a rocket attack near the journalists.

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The reporters said they had coordinated their trip to the area with the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Israel has been accused of killing tens of Palestinian journalists as it continues its bombardment of Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.

Israel has also told international and local news agencies that they could not guarantee the safety of their journalists working in Gaza.

A Lebanese journalist working for Reuters was also killed by an Israeli strike last month as he was filming a live broadcast from Lebanon’s southern border.

Lebanon and witnesses on the scene of the attack said Israel was behind the attack, while Israel said it was investigating.

Ayman Mhanna, executive director at the Samir Kassir Foundation, said there was a trend now for Israel to target journalists because of a lack of accountability for all its previous attacks. “So, Israel believes it has some kind of impunity that allows it to do absolutely whatever it wants vis-à-vis all types of civilians, including journalists, knowing full well that nobody anywhere in the world will hold it accountable,” Mhanna told Al Arabiya English.

He also pointed to comments made by Israeli influences on social media and some Israeli officials threatening to target journalists. While they may not be in positions of power, Mhanna said this directly contributed to a climate that normalizes the idea of attacking journalists. “And unfortunately, most international partners of Israel have turned a blind eye to these comments and developments.”

According to the International Federation of Journalists, at least 34 Palestinian journalists and media workers have been killed, with more injured and missing.

The Biden administration, which has claimed to be a champion of human rights since it took office, has had several officials say that Washington has not placed any conditions on weapons or support it has provided to Israel. After initially batting down criticism of Israel’s targeting of civilians and following increased pressure, US officials are now urging Israel to try to reign in the indiscriminate killing of innocent Palestinians.

Israel has said that Hamas is using civilians as human shields as well as using hospitals and schools to launch their attacks on Israelis.

The UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, said 101 of its colleagues have been killed in Gaza, with many deaths being blamed on Israel’s aerial and naval bombardment of the enclave.

“There is something that looks like a need by the Israelis to target those who report on what is happening on the ground,” Mhanna added.

Read more: Analysis: Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza further risks regional war

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