Israel’s Long War Against the Press in Gaza

Image by Mohammed Ibrahim.

Defenders of Israel as “the only democracy in the Middle East” had their hands full last month, particularly when it came to freedom of the press, a cornerstone of genuine democracies. On May 5, Al Jazeera reported that its offices in East Jerusalem — internationally recognized Palestinian territory occupied by Israel — were raided and shut down by Israeli police following the banning of the news network by the Israeli government. Al Jazeera continues to operate in the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but is still barred from reporting or broadcasting in Israel proper. Then, on May 21, the Associated Press reported that Israeli authorities had confiscated AP’s equipment in Southern Israel, despite the news agency submitting to Israeli military censorship. AP’s equipment was eventually returned, but only after the United States’ government intervened on behalf of the US company. Across the border, in the Gaza Strip, the situation for journalists was much more dire. Among the more than 37,266 Palestinians killed in the ongoing Israeli genocide, as reported by Al Jazeera, were at least 103 journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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