Court Grants Press Limited Entry to Gaza

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's High Court granted limited permission for foreign journalists to enter Gaza "at their own risk."

The ruling allows up to 12 foreign journalists to enter the Gaza Strip when the border is open for aid transfer.

A petition submitted on November 24 by the Foreign Press Association (FPA) claimed that banning foreign reporters from Gaza gave the impression that Israel had something to hide and dealt "a grave and mortal blow against freedom of the press and other basic rights."

While the ruling was welcomed, Associated Press Jerusalem Bureau Chief Steven Gutkin, who also chairs the FPA, said he hoped the court would broaden the ruling.

"Anything the court does that furthers our goal of ensuring fee access to the Gaza Strip for the international media we view as positive," Gutkin said.

"We note the court ruling is limited in scope, and we hope the court will view positively our wider position as well," he said.

Meanwhile, State attorney Hila Gorni said allowing foreign press in and out of Gaza is a security risk right now.

Danny Seaman, director of the Government Press Office, said Hamas exploits foreign journalists.

"Based on our experience from the war in Lebanon [in the summer of 2006] and the way the foreign press has conducted itself in Gaza, we know that Hamas is in complete control of the news and that reports from Gaza are carried out under duress," Seaman said.

For security reasons, Israeli correspondents are banned from entering Gaza, but foreign journalists have always been free to enter Gaza.

International news agencies and foreign journalists have consistently displayed a lack of balance in their reporting on the Gaza Strip, rarely presenting Israel objectively.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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