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Full Court -of-it Press

The Foreign Press Association has criticized Israel for exhibiting a callous disregard for the lives of their journalists.

The Foreign Press Association in Israel says a helicopter attack on offices in Gaza housing several media organisations demonstrated a “callous disregard” for the lives of journalists.

Two technicians were among three Palestinians injured when Apache helicopter gunships fired five rockets at the 12-storey building in central Gaza City.

The building houses the local offices of international news organisations including the BBC, CNN, NBC and Al-Jazeera.

Israeli officials say the target of the operation was the third-floor office of the Al-Saada weekly, which has close links to the Palestinian radical Islamic movement Hamas.

In response, I condemn the FPA for allowing their journalists to demonstrate a “callous disregard” for:

1. The lives of Israelis. Read any article from AP, Reuters, AFP, etc and you will know what I am talking about.

2. Their own lives. The foreign press are constantly entering military zones and conflict areas, despite warnings about the risks of doing so.

3. The lives of our soldiers. The IDF goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, including the foreign press who have entered the conflict areas, even when this involves some risk to the soldiers’ lives.

Update: The following Israeli Government Press Office response attests to the improvement in Israel’s public relations:

Response to FPA Condemnation of Israel

(Communicated by the Israel Government Press Office)

Tuesday, 29 June, 2004

We find the Foreign Press Association in Israel’s condemnation of the State of Israel puzzling, hypocritical and pretentious.

Puzzling, since if there were no persons present in the building attacked, in what way does the FPA consider this “callous disregard for the life and security of journalists.”?

Hypocritical, because the FPA has repeatedly demanded that the State of Israel not prevent the entry of journalists into Gaza, despite it being an area of conflict and regardless of the obvious dangers to the journalists themselves.

Pretentious, since if members of the press are going to involve themselves in business relations with elements known to have connections with – and in

service of – terrorist organizations, one would expect them to also assess the risks involved with such a venture.

Furthermore, while we realize that Israel’s considerations may not always be clear to the FPA, the assessment of our security forces as to the proportion of the threat posed was accurate and valid.

Finally, we are rather curious as to whether the FPA will also protest the reckless behavior of the Hamas, whose indiscriminate shelling of Sderot must certainly be endangering the many journalists who are there today.

Well said.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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