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article imageIsrael Bans Journalists From Gaza

By Jason Li     Jan 6, 2009 in World
Despite a Supreme Court ruling to allow journalists into Gaza to cover Israel's war on Hamas, Israel has maintained the ban, leading many to say it's trying to manage the war's coverage.
There are more than 300 journalists in Israel, hailing from all parts of the globe, waiting for their ticket into the Gaza Strip, where Israel's attack on Hamas is now on its twelfth day.
But Israel has denied them entry, saying that Israeli soldiers will not risk their lives to protect the reporters. This is despite the Supreme Court's ruling to allow journalist access.
Daniel Seaman, head of Israel's Government Press Office, said: "No reporters are allowed into Gaza because our soldiers will not sacrifice their lives to protect them."
Israel's own reporters have, for a long time, been prohibited entry into the battered war zone, for safety reasons. But this is the first time the ban extends to the foreign media. In the recent Lebanon war in 2006, journalists were allowed.
Infantry Corps forces operating in the Gaza Strip
Infantry Corps forces operating in the Gaza Strip
Photo by Israeli Defense Forces
The Foreign Press Association, which appealed to the Supreme Court, said in a statement: "The unprecedented denial of access to Gaza for the world's media amounts to a severe violation of press freedom and puts the state of Israel in the company of a handful of regimes around the world which regularly keep journalists from doing their jobs."
Currently, international journalists file their reports based on accounts given to them by Palestinian sources. As they cannot enter the Gaza territory, much of their stories cover Hamas' damage on Israel and distant shots of Gaza from vantage points inside Israel.
It's important to note that Israel's injunction is similar to the one the US military imposed on journalists during the 1991 Gulf War. The military briefings were the reporters main sources for their stories, which had to be screened.
The attack which started on Dec. 27, 2008, has claimed more than 580 Palestinian lives, including nearly 100 children. Palestinian rockets have killed four Israelis and injured dozens so far.
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