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Israel warns journalists against covering the Flotilla

Athens — The Israeli government has announced today that Israel will not differentiate between journalists and passengers on board any ship taking part in the Gaza flotilla. The Israeli government press office announced in a statement this morning that “is a dangerous provocation that is being organized by western and Islamic extremist elements to aid Hamas.”

Journalists from CBS, CNN, The New York Times, Democracy Now and The Nation (I am on assignment for the Nation) will be on board the US boat to Gaza, set to sail later this week from Greece. Previously, Israel warned activists on board the boat that they will be subject to a ten year ban from the State of Israel if the boats are intercepted by the state of Israel.

In a bold statement, the government of Israel has now extended the same warning to the press wishing to cover the flotilla. It has also stated that equipment will be impounded and additional fines could be levied against any journalists on board. Israel has said that it will ’embed’ members of the press on Israeli navy ships sent to intercept the boats.  Army commandos are also being equipped with advanced recording devices to film any raids that take place aboard the flotilla ships. Israel has not released any footage collected by activists– it has confiscated all footage and has subsequently ‘lost’ all of the footage collected– on last year’s flotilla.

Israel has been noted in the past for its vibrant freedom of press and this bold move to seek banishment of journalists comes as a surprise for many in the press community in Israel and aboard.  The GPO’s stark warning to the media that journalists will not be differentiate from passengers is intended to instill fear and dissuade journalists from covering the story.

It seems that the government is engaged in a last ditch effort to control the narrative of the flotilla and ensure that it will be able to control the image of the flotilla in the international press. The stark warning to the press who plan on boarding any boats begs the natural question of what Israel is afraid that the press will report during the flotilla voyage.

Joseph Dana is in Greece reporting for The Nation, and about to embark on the American ship to Gaza.

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    1. shan ti

      The presence of journalist on board of the flotilla will be as oil on a fire. With cameras and journalist it is bound to be trouble, as that’s what all heading for Gaza want. Maybe even more the journalists, as they want the best story!

      Shan Ti

      Reply to Comment
    2. raymond cahill

      Shanti,what people want is to bring some
      much needed medical supplies,food,toys for
      kids,No one wants trouble,Isreal can unload
      all the cargo if they choose,check all items.
      The world has the right to see how a democratic
      state (Israel)behaves itself in International
      waters.My mother is 68yr old lady of peace,she
      is no threat to Israels security.She wants to
      give some joy to kids,she is neither pro or
      anti Israel,she is pro kids.Sounds simple,cause
      it it simple.But if harm is brought to my mum,
      Israel better close its embassy here quickly,

      Reply to Comment
    3. I wish you a safe journey, Joseph.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Yonatan

      Israel fears nothing more than the outbreak of peace. The whole money making war machine would grind to a halt, and it would have to deal its own internal contradictions – democracy or theocracy for example.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Dave Metcalf

      “I’m quite fearful for my own personal safety”

      Man up princess….

      Reply to Comment
    6. “Israel has been noted in the past for its vibrant freedom of press…”

      Really? Remember Operation Cast Lead? Journalists were completely banned from even entering the Gaza Strip to cover that one. Israel only has a “vibrant freedom of press” when it suits them. And even then, it usually only prints the best stuff in Hebrew — the English versions are often softened if not left out entirely if the subject is too touchy.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Forgot to add: Safe travels, and thanks for all your great work. It’s people like you, who dare to brave the threats of a crumbling and angry edifice, who make the world a better place.

      Reply to Comment
    8. […] האונייה האמריקאית שתשתתף במשט. הפוסט פורסם באנגלית במגזין 972 document.getElementById("fbLike").setAttribute("fb:like:locale", "en_GB"); 0 […]

      Reply to Comment
    9. Adiel

      Clearly, it seems that you already know so well what is the “narrative”. You don’t really need to go on board as a “journalist” but as a pro-Palestinian activist.

      Reply to Comment
    10. textwriter

      What I found ridiculous is the ambulance, toys and food supplies. What happened to all the fundings that European Union (195 million US DOLLARS), USA (185 million US dollars) plus other 65 millions US Dollars sent by other two european countries (check UNWRA fundings), WFP, etc. sent to Gaza in 2008. People should start asking Hamas what happened to all that funding. Where are they? Do people on flotilla know about the other side of Gaza? luxury hotels, villas etc., flourishing markets…..please get informed very very well. and please lets stop with this idiocy of sending medical supplies (of which they would and should already avail if Hamas would take care of their people properly.

      PS : Palestinians are governed and should be looked after Hamas not by Israel. That should be a good thing to start from.

      Reply to Comment
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