Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush

Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) attend a vigil for Palestinian journalists killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on January 18, 2024.

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Tlaib, Bush Join Vigil Condemning Israel's Attacks on Gaza Journalists

"Palestinian voices are being intentionally silenced by the Israeli government and by our own government," said U.S. Rep. Cori Bush.

Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush joined a vigil in Washington, D.C. late Wednesday to mourn and demand justice for the Palestinian journalists who were killed by the Israeli military during the first 100 days of its U.S.-backed assault on the Gaza Strip.

"The Israeli government's brutal attacks have made Gaza the most dangerous place in the world for journalists and their families," Tlaib (D-Mich.), currently the only Palestinian American member of Congress, said in her remarks at the vigil, which was organized by Defending Rights and Dissent. "Despite [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's ongoing genocidal campaign, Palestinian journalists have continued reporting for Gaza under extremely dangerous circumstances to continue showing the world the truth about these atrocities."

"We call on the international community: Please come together to investigate the Israeli government's war crimes for its repeated attacks on journalists," said Tlaib.

More than 100 Gaza journalists and media workers have been killed by the Israeli military since early October, according to the territory's media office. Palestinian reporters say they are being deliberately targeted as part of an Israeli government campaign to "shut down the coverage" of its ongoing atrocities in the Gaza Strip.

In addition to being killed by Israeli bombs, Gaza journalists have faced arbitrary detention, harassment, assault, and torture at the hands of Israeli forces. The International Criminal Court said last week that it is investigating attacks on Gaza journalists as part of its broader probe of war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.

Bush (D-Mo.), the lead sponsor of a Gaza cease-fire resolution in the U.S. House, used her speech during Wednesday's vigil to call out the Biden administration's complicity in Israel's attacks on journalists—and the lack of condemnation from members of the American press as their peers "are being slaughtered for doing the very jobs they do."

"Palestinian voices are being intentionally silenced by the Israeli government and by our own government," Bush said. "This makes uncovering the truth of what's happening in Palestine not only difficult and dangerous, but essential."

"The Israeli government's silencing of and violence against journalists began long before October 7," Bush continued. "In fact, for decades, as Palestinians have lived under their illegal occupation, the silencing of their voices and stories has been a tactic to maintain control and maintain support from the West. After all, it's much easier to ignore and cover up injustice if it goes untold."

The vigil was co-sponsored by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which led a coalition of advocacy groups last week in imploring the Biden administration to immediately "promote the conditions for safe and unrestricted reporting on the hostilities."

Caitlin Vogus, deputy director of advocacy at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, said late Wednesday that the Biden administration "needs to use its influence with Israel to demand that journalists in Gaza can safely document the war."

"The U.S. must demand that Israel renounce the indiscriminate and deliberate killing of journalists," said Vogus. "It must demand that Israel promptly and thoroughly investigate attacks on journalists. And if it finds that particular individuals or entities are responsible, those people must be held accountable."

During a briefing on Wednesday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the administration supports a "free, independent press all over the world," including in Gaza.

But Miller did not condemn or demand a halt to the Israeli government's targeted attacks on Palestinian journalists, saying only that Gaza is "obviously a very dangerous place for journalists to operate, and we recognize the risks that journalists take upon themselves by operating in Gaza."

This story has been updated to note that Defending Rights & Dissent organized the vigil and the Freedom of the Press Foundation co-sponsored it.

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