In clear defiance of international press organizations, journalists and media, and the right to freedom of movement, and while the Israeli propaganda and the censored media continue misleading the international public opinion, especially the Europeans officials, by claiming that Israel removed it’s restriction on freedom of movement and access to the Gaza Strip, the occupation authorities prohibited a high level journalist mission headed by Mr. Jim Baumila, the President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and IFJ Executive members accompanying him, Franco Siddi, General Secretary of the Italian Federazione Nazionale della Prensa Italiana, Eva Stabell, Norwegian Norsk Journalistlag, Androula Georgiadou, European Federation of Journalists Steering Committee member, a representative of the Union of Cyprus Journalists and Monir Zaarour, co-coordinator of IFJ Middle East and Arab World, from entering the Gaza Strip and meeting with the Palestinian Journalists and discussing their safety and the action needed to improve their freedom of movement under the strict closure imposed on Gaza since 2006.
Israel also prohibited the Vice President of the IFJ Younes Mujahid, Chairman of the National Assembly of the Moroccan Press Union, to enter the Palestinian territories together with a European delegation of the IFJ.
The prohibition of Mr. Mujahid from entering the Palestinian territories is another chapter of racism, discrimination, repression and terror against journalists and journalism which Israel has imposed on the Palestinian people since over 62 years. Under this Israeli apartheid regime which the zionists of Israel continue to apply to the Arab world, they have the shamelessness to want to start a full “normalization” of relations by using the US power to impose that by force on the Arab readers. The fact is that the relations of the Arab world with israel ARE normal and need not be changed.
The prohibition of Mr. Jim Baumila and his delegation from entering Gaza and the prohibition of Mr. Younes Mujahid from entering the West Bank reveals the bad faith and intentions of Israel as the an occupying zionist entity, which misleads the whole world by claiming a “new start” of political negotiations with the Palestinians while in fact it uses those “negotiations” to legitimize and extend the duration of the zionist occupation of Palestine. The Palestinian Journalists Union (PJS) and the IFJ released a joint statement in which they condemn the Israeli decision of preventing them from entering Gaza and denying Mr. Younes M’Jahed, IFJ senior vice president and president of the Moroccan Press Union, from entering the occupied West Bank to participate in the work of the IFJ mission.
Following the failure of the Israeli occupation authorities to allow the European IFJ Journalists mission to enter Gaza, the security forces of Hamas prevented the Palestinian journalists from participating in a video conference held in Ramallah with the President of IFJ Jim Boumelha and the delegation with him.
According to the IFJ report published on their website, the IFJ mission to Palestine started a four-day visit to the occupied West Bank at the invitation of its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS). The aim of the mission was to meet the newly elected leadership of the PJS and to investigate the continuing consequences of the Israeli occupation and the blockade of Gaza and East Jerusalem on the work of all journalists and media workers, and its impact on their safety, and to identify actions to ameliorate the problems of freedom of movement of the journalists in the region.
IFJ President Mr. Boumelha said: “It is unacceptable to the world community of journalists that Israeli soldiers continue to attack Palestinian journalists in total impunity”. He added: “The PJS has monitored 60 cases of attacks in the last three months. This is getting out of control and must stop immediately. As the occupying power, Israeli civilian and military authorities must discipline and prosecute soldiers who are guilty of violence against journalists”.
It should be noted that Israel did not win the last elections of IFJ World Congress in Cadiz, Spain and Athens which was held on 25-28 May 2010 in which the Palestinian Journalists Union won a membership of IFJ. There are signs that the troubles caused by the occupation to this IFJ delegation are in revenge for israel losing in these elections against the Palestinian delegation.