What’s Missing?

From the Free Gaza mailing list:

Dear friends,
Israeli journalist, Amira Hass has been arrested as she attempted to cross back into Israel from Gaza, after spending three weeks there (coming into Gaza on one of the Free Gaza Movement boats).  Over the past few weeks, Hass has been filing on the ground reports from Gaza about life under the siege.

Hass, the child of Holocaust survivors, became the first and only Israeli journalist to be ever based in Gaza, moving there in 1993 to live and work.  Today, she is still the only Israeli journalist to based in the Occupied Palestinian Territories moving to Ramallah in 1997.  Three weeks ago, she once again became the only Israeli journalist to enter Gaza since the current illegal Israeli siege began, as not only has the Israeli military have prevented Israeli journalists for some time and recently also began preventing foreign journalists from entering Gaza.

Please find below the brief article on her arrest which appeared in the Haaretz, the paper she writes for.

In solidarity,

Last update – 16:44 02/12/2008

Haaretz journalist Amira Hass arrested for illegal stay in Gaza

By Tomer Zarchin, Haaretz Correspondent

Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass was detained by Sderot police last night for having entered the Gaza Strip without a permit.

By order of the army, Israeli journalists have been barred from entering Gaza since the abduction of soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006.

Hass was stopped by soldiers at the Erez Checkpoint, on the Gaza-Israel border, as she was returning to Israel from the Strip. Upon discovering that she had no permit to be in Gaza, the soldiers transferred her to the Sderot police.

When questioned, Hass pointed out that no one had stopped her from entering the Strip, which she did for work purposes.

Chief Superintendent Shimon Nahmani, commander of the Sderot police station, said Hass had entered Gaza by sea three weeks ago.

Hass was released under restriction, and Nahmani said her case will be sent to court in the coming week.

Israel Press Council chairwoman Dalia Dorner, a former Supreme Court justice, commented that even journalists are subject to the law and the council cannot defend a reporter who breaks the law. Instead, she said, local journalists ought to petition the High Court of Justice against the army’s order.

Answer: This minor detail:

An Israeli reporter who traveled by boat to Hamas-ruled Gaza last month, defying her country’s blockade of the territory, returned to Israel Monday after Hamas officials told her to leave because of security concerns.

Amira Hass, an award-winning writer for the Israeli daily Haaretz, crossed into Israel on Monday afternoon. She said Hamas officials did not provide details about the alleged dangers to her safety.

Presumably, Free Gaza and Ha’aretz did not see fit to mention that Hamas turfed Hass out of Gaza, since this would detract from the main message of their story – that Israel is the real villain here.

Also interesting is the fact that if the IHT story is correct, Hass lied to Sderot police.

I wonder if they can add that to the charge sheet.


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