According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 15 journalists have died in the course of their work covering Israel and the Palestinian territories since 1992. On Wednesday, that number was tragically augmented when Italian Associated Press video journalist Simone Camilli and his freelance translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, were killed in an explosion at an ordnance dump in the Gaza Strip.
Camilli was well-respected among the cadre of journalists who worked in Gaza. He had relocated to Jerusalem in 2006 and has covered a number of the conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank. One video uploaded to Vimeo was a multimedia project he made with photographer Dan Balilty. Titled "Gaza 22," it shows scenes from the Gaza War of 2008-2009.
Another video, made with documentary maker Peter Bellorini, was filmed three years ago. The 21-minute film begins with a history of Palestine then shows several scenes of daily life in Gaza at a time of peace.
While Camilli was well-known for his work in Israel and the Palestinian territories, like many foreign correspondents he wasn't bound to one place. He had worked from his native Italy before moving to Jerusalem, and according to the Associated Press, had recently moved to Beirut with his wife and daughter. He also roamed across Europe and the Middle East, producing a wide variety of videos. According to his AP colleague Sarah El Deeb, his last assignment before returning to Gaza yielded this video from Iraq. It shows female Kurdish fighters training for battle against Islamic State militants:
Of course, it would be remiss to ignore the role of Abu Afash and translators like him who risk their lives to enable this sort of work, in Gaza and elsewhere. “He was the most wonderful man,” his wife, Shireen Abu Afash, told The Post on Wednesday. “A very nice husband, a very nice son, a very nice father. Ali helped everyone. . . . For a month, he went out day and night, working with all the foreign journalists, under the bombs."