Israeli security minister responds to I’lam: “We gave 65 permits to Palestinian journalists”
Israeli Security Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to a letter from I’lam Media Center through his so-called “West Bank communications coordinator.” There is a systematic policy in the West Bank that prevents Palestinian journalists from covering news in the “lands of 1948” and Jerusalem in particular.
In the reply, the “coordinator” said that between July 2012 and July 2013, 65 permits were granted to Palestinian journalists out of 69 that were requested. Four were denied for security reasons.
The “coordinator” explained that according to the law, residents of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip are prohibited from entering Israel except under special circumstances – and while “supporting the work of journalists” as he put it. He said that anyone wishing to obtain a permit should go to the Israeli Government Press Office.
In its letter addressed to Ya’alon, I’lam demanded that he facilitate the movement of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as for agencies inside the West Bank to enter the areas within the Green Line. Doing so would further their ability to cover current events on the ground.
I’lam said this trend comes on the heels of information confirming that a large portion of journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are blocked from entering Jerusalem to cover news. Their situation contrasts with that of their colleagues in the Hebrew press who enjoy special privileges, among them freedom of movement and access to information in the West Bank.
In its letter, I’lam stressed that freedom of movement is a right upheld by national law and which must be emphasized; it is essential to facilitating the work of journalists, who are directly responsible for the public’s right to access information.