Gaza Game Exposes Siege Restrictions

Israel announced weeks ago that it would ease its siege on Gaza, but students who want to travel to the West Bank to study are still banned – as they have been for 10 years. To publicise the problem, the Israeli human rights group Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement has created an online game that demonstrates just how difficult it is to leave the Gaza strip.

Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports.

(Also see Gisha’s excellent short animation ‘Closed Zone‘)

Al Jazeera’s Jamal ElShayyal Recounts Attack on the Mavi Marmara

An interview with Al Jazeera‘s Jamal Elshayyal, who was on board the Mavi Marmara and filed his last report as IDF commandos were descending onto to the deck of the ship, launching their murderous attack. Elshayyal debunks some of the falsehoods of the Israeli propaganda machine and recounts his (mis)treatment by IDF forces.

See also Mel Frykberg’s article about the censorship imposed by the IDF on journalists covering this story, who were systematically denied access to the passangers of the flotilla. Furthermore, many journalists who were on board the ships were subjected to inhumane treatment and denied consular access and legal representation, in clear violation of international law.

It is interesting to note that viewers are regularly informed about restrictions on media freedoms whenever the BBC and other western outlets report from countries such as Zimbabwe, Iran and other official enemies. Not so in the case of Israel, ‘the only democracy in the Middle East‘.

Riz Khan – Chas Freeman and the Israeli lobby

Charles “Chas” Freeman was selected last month by the administration of Barak Obama, the US president, for one of the country’s top intelligence jobs, chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Within hours, pro-Israel advocates launched a major offensive to make sure Freeman’s appointment did not stand.

Continue reading “Riz Khan – Chas Freeman and the Israeli lobby”

Focus on Gaza: A Crime of War?

A Crime of War? is the first episode in a new weekly Al Jazeera series titled Focus on Gaza.  I’m pleased to hear Al Jazeera are going to dedicate more time to Gaza, they have done outstanding work already and, if you missed it, I recommend you to watch their Gaza documentary Reflections of War.

Continue reading “Focus on Gaza: A Crime of War?”

Sanctions on Al Jazeera’s Israel Operations

According to Haaretz:

The government will impose sanctions on Israel-based employees of the Al Jazeera network in response to the closure last month of the Israeli trade office in Qatar, which hosts and funds the network. Qatar had closed the office in opposition to Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Following the closure, the Foreign Ministry, in conjunction with the newly-formed national information directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office, considered declaring the station a hostile entity and closing its offices in Israel. After submitting the idea to legal review, however, concerns emerged it would not be permitted by the High Court of Justice.

Instead, it chose to limit the network’s activity in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. First, Israel will not renew the visas of Al Jazeera’s non-Israeli employees or grant visas to new employees. Second, station representatives will have reduced accessibility to government and military bodies, and will not be allowed into briefings or press conferences.

Israeli officials have recently criticized Qatar’s warming relations with Hamas and Iran. Foreign Ministry director-general Aharon Abramowitz told attendees at the Herzliya Conference on Monday that Qatar is moving toward a “radical axis.”

The supposed “democratic” Israeli government has little care for democratic principles, here trying to reduce press freedom. Clearly banning Western journalists from Gaza wasn’t enough to prevent images of Israeli acts of massacre being transmitted globally.  This is a problem for the Foreign Ministry and the propaganda outfit the national [dis-] information directorate and their solution is further unfreedom: try and ban those responsible, namely Al Jazeera.

Fear not as the BBC explains all:

Continue reading “Sanctions on Al Jazeera’s Israel Operations”