Royal Society of Literature faces fresh scrutiny over Gaza ‘censorship’

LONDON: The Syndicate of Lebanese Press Editors has announced plans to take legal action against Israel at the International Criminal Court for its “atrocities” committed during the war against journalists and media workers.

“Israel must be held accountable for its crimes and must not escape punishment,” the syndicate said in a statement following a meeting in the capital Beirut on Monday.

The union has committed to participating in lawsuits against Israel before the ICC, although specific details about the parties initiating these lawsuits were not disclosed.

Highlighting the urgency of the situation, the syndicate called for collective efforts to denounce Israel’s actions against Palestinian journalists and media personnel in Gaza and southern Lebanon.

According to Palestinian sources, at least 112 Palestinian journalists have lost their lives in Israeli attacks in Gaza since Oct. 7. Additionally, three journalists were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon in October and November 2023.

In April 2022, the International Federation of Journalists, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, and the International Center for Justice for Palestinians filed a joint complaint to the ICC, accusing Israel of committing “war crimes” against journalists in Palestinian territories.

The recent escalation of tension along the Lebanon-Israel border, punctuated by intermittent clashes between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, has drawn concern from the international community, prompting calls for de-escalation.

These clashes represent the deadliest confrontations since the 2006 war between the two sides, which resulted in over 1,200 fatalities and the displacement of 900,000 people, predominantly in Lebanon, according to a report by the Human Rights Council.

This announcement comes in the wake of a decision by over 120 individuals and groups in February calling for a UN investigation into Israeli attacks on journalists in southern Lebanon.

The focus was on the alleged deliberate targeting of the three journalists and media workers killed in October.

Concurrent investigations conducted by Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have concurred that Israel intentionally targeted journalists in southern Lebanon with the latter two saying that the strikes should be investigated as a war crime. 

In a separate legal development, Israel is currently facing accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice.

An interim ruling in January directed Tel Aviv to cease genocidal acts and take immediate measures to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.

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