Israel must respect rules of war
Diaa Al-Kahlou, Gaza correspondent for Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (Image courtesy of Al-Araby Al-Jadeed).
The IPI global network calls for the immediate release of Diaa Al-Kahlout, correspondent for Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, who was detained by Israeli forces on Thursday December 7 in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza. We also call on the Israeli military to respect the international rules of war, which requires all warring parties to protect journalists and civilians during conflict.
Al-Kahlout and two of his brothers were among the group of civilians who were arrested, forcibly undressed, and searched by the Israeli military before being transferred to an unknown location, according to a statement by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. During the incident, Al-Kahlout was separated from his disabled daughter before being transported in a military truck with a larger group of civilian detainees.
The mass arrest was captured on video, widely circulating on social media, showing a large group of Palestinian men in stripped to their underwear and guarded by Israeli soldiers. According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Al-Kahlout was identified as being among these men.
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed told IPI that Al-Kahlout and his two brothers are still being detained and their location is unknown. Al-Kahlout’s family said on Friday that he may be transferred to the Zikim military base in southern Israel for interrogation. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has not been able to verify this information.
Al-Kahlout has been on assignment in Gaza since the war’s start. While he was not believed to be reporting at the moment of his arrest, his detention nevertheless highlights the increasingly dangerous conditions for journalists and civilians in Gaza. Israeli bombardments and raids on Gaza that have resulted in staggering and unprecedented civilian casualties and wide-scale devastation. At least 60 journalists and media workers have been killed since the start of the hostilities on October 7 – a vast majority of which have occurred inside Gaza as a result of Israeli airstrikes or ground raids. In addition, dozens of media outlets in Gaza have been bombed by Israeli forces, and journalists in Gaza and across the region face detention and harassment.
“The Israeli military must immediately release Diaa Al-Kahlout, who is a journalist – not an enemy combatant,” Amy Brouillette, Director of Advocacy for IPI, said. “We also demand that Israel respect international rules of war, which require states to protect journalists, as civilians, and to refrain from arbitrarily detaining civilians.”
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, a London-based news outlet owned by Qatari company Fadaat Media, is among the few Arab news outlets with reporters on the ground covering the war from inside Gaza. It publishes online and print news in Arabic, and has an English version called The New Arab.