Israel ordered to allow journalists into Gaza

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled today that the Israeli government must allow journalists entry into Gaza to cover the ongoing conflict.

The decision came in response to a petition by the Foreign Press Association which has been campaigning for access to the besieged Palestinian enclave since a media ban was imposed more than two months ago.

The legal battle highlights the propaganda war being waged behind the bombs and rockets of the latest conflict. Israel cites as one of the main reasons for blocking foreign journalists from Gaza its belief that the reporting has been unfair and one-sided.

This is hardly the first time that the Israeli government has complained about perceived bias in the foreign media, but this time it is also putting unprecedented resources into getting its message across.

There is a consensus among many Israeli officials that the last war in Lebanon was, in many ways, a public relations disaster for Israel with Hezbollah winning the propaganda war. The same is not being allowed to happen with Hamas in Gaza. Israel has mobilised politicians, diplomats and supporters world wide to present its case.

Correspondents and reporters based in Israel are receiving dozens of SMS messages offering briefings, interviews, facility trips. One team has even been established to concentrate on bloggers.

A country which has fought its many wars by mobilising a citizens’ army has mobilised for the information offensive. A headline in the Jerusalem Post stated “Netanyahu Joins Gaza Op PR Effort”. At the invitation of outgoing premier Ehud Olmert, the opposition Likud leader is now part of the campaign, giving the first in a series of interviews about Gaza to Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel.

Meanwhile, foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who as the Kadima party’s candidate will run against Mr Netanyahu in the forthcoming elections briefed more than 80 international representatives at a media centre set up by the government at Sderot, a town which had become totemic after receiving daily Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza.

Ms Livni also undertook a telephone marathon stating the Israeli justification for the Gaza attacks to Condoleeza Rice, David Milliband, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, the foreign ministers of Russia, China, France and Germany, and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Foreign ambassadors to Israel had been taken on a guided tour near the Gaza borders and Israel’s own diplomats, serving and retired, are being pressed into service. Ms Livni declared: "many voices are making themselves heard throughout the world today in English, French and Arabic, and in a clear, strong voice. We are telling them all the truth that is not broadcast on television in the Arab world - and this is the truth that needs to be voiced from this podium to the entire world.”

Some of the interviews with Israeli politicians and officials for the international media have been organised by pro-Israeli think tanks such as BICOM (British Israeli Communications & Research Centre) based in the UK and the Israel Project with its HQ in America.

Mark Regev, the urbane spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, has been one of the most prominent advocates for Israel in the world’s media. Earlier this week the Israel Project gathered 600 journalists for a telephone interview with him.

Mr Regev complained that claims by Hamas on casualties are being reported without questioning by news organisations. “There was a guy in Gaza, supposedly a doctor, who said that only 10 per cent of the casualties were combatants and the rest were innocent civilians - and this was put out as fact on the news” said Mr Regev. “Why was no attempt made to find out whether this was true or not ?”

One obvious reason, of course, is the ban on journalists going into Gaza. Mr Regev argues that this has happened in international conflicts. However, his sympathies, he says “ are intrinsically with the media and hopefully the situation will change in the very near future. We would welcome the examination of the claims that Hamas have been making.”

Hamas has, in fact, its own relatively efficient information system which is superior to that of rival Palestinian faction Fatah. The organisation has demonstrated that it understands the needs of the media and knows how to exploit them.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it