The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the decision of Tel Aviv to reconsider the warning to slap a ten year ban on foreign reporters who plan to board the new aid flotilla bound for Gaza, in defiance of the blockade imposed by Israel. Israel also threatened to seize journalists' equipment, said an IFJ statement.
The Israeli government announced on Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered a review of the measure after widespread criticism in media circles.
"We welcome the review of the measure and urge the government to restrain from any action against media covering the event," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "We should not have the repeat of last year's heavy handed intervention of Israeli navy who failed to distinguish between journalists and activists," he said in press statements. Last year, the IFJ condemned the brutal attacks on civilians, including journalists, by Israeli forces in the assault on a flotilla that tried to breach the military blockade of the Gaza coastline in Palestine. One media staff was among the nine people killed by Israeli soldiers during the raid and many journalists were detained and had their equipment confiscated by Israeli authorities. The Brussels-based IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 131 countries.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, peace activists are currently gathering in Greece to participate in the second aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip.