Brussels (Brussels Morning) Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the Israeli bombing of a Gaza tower block housing several media offices as a possible war crime, AP reported on Monday.
The Paris-based organisation sent a letter to the ICC’s chief prosecutor in The Hague, noting that 23 international and local media offices in the city of Gaza have been destroyed over the past six days.
RSF claims it has strong reasons to believe that the “intentional targeting of media organisations and intentional destruction of their equipment” by the Israelis could violate one of the international court’s statutes. The organisation has asked the ICC to include the attacks in a war crimes probe it launched in March against Israeli practices in the Palestinian enclave.
Israeli military demolished a high-rise building in Gaza on Saturday that had housed the local AP offices for more than 15 years, as well as the offices of the Al Jazeera broadcaster and other international media. Israeli authorities claim that the building also housed Hamas intelligence assets, which none of the media knew about.
Journalists and staff were given an hour to evacuate the building prior to its demolition. The warning did not leave them with enough time to salvage their equipment and records. No media workers were injured in the attack.
The AP top editor, Sally Buzbee, called for an independent inquiry into the bombing, and demanded the Israeli authorities present the evidence used to support the attack on the international, independent media.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would provide all evidence through “intelligence channels”, though US officials declined to say whether they had received any. An Israeli military spokesman told the media that the evidence is currently being compiled, and that it would be presented “in due time”, but refused to put a date on when that might be.