Scottish PEN notes with grave concern that on 15th May 2021 targeted airstrikes by the Israeli Air Force destroyed the offices of international media outlets the Associated Press and Al Jazeera in GazaMay 18, 2021
This attack was conducted with around one hour’s notice, such that journalists, reporters and production teams had little time to remove themselves and their equipment from harm’s way. This detail, together with reports that more than twenty other media outlets have been destroyed by Israeli forces in the week up to 15th May, indicates conditions that materially obstruct the ability of the media to report on the conflict in Gaza that is taking civilian lives.
We are particularly distressed to read of the report received by Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Nick Barley, from author Nayrouz Qarmout. Nayrouz Qarmout writes of “a terrible time under heavy bombing” and the death of women and children.
In light of these developments, we are bound to condemn attacks on journalists reporting on the conflict in Gaza and also express our concern regarding the plight of writers and other citizens living in Gaza. It is vital that reporters and writers are able to bear witness to events there, including the ongoing heavy bombardment in Gaza City. It is particularly important that the world is able to receive accurate reporting from writers in Palestine, as well as from critical voices in Israel and internationally. We support the call by Sally Buzbee, Executive Editor of the Associated Press, for an independent investigation into the 15th May airstrikes.
Scottish PEN stands in solidarity with journalists and all writers in Gaza as they attempt to report on the conflict and share the truth of their lives.