Israel Threatens Journalists Who Plan to Cover Flotilla

Amazing. Just amazing.

On Sunday Israel warned journalists, who will make up a minority of the passengers, not to travel with the flotilla. In a letter to editors, Oren Helman, the director of the government press office, wrote that the flotilla had been organised by western and Islamist extremists: “The flotilla intends to knowingly violate the blockade that has been declared legally and is in accordance with all treaties and international law.”

He said journalists who participated in the flotilla would be breaking Israeli law and would be banned from Israel for 10 years, as well as facing confiscation of equipment and other measures.

The Foreign Press Association, which represents the international media in Israel, said the threat to punish journalists covering the Gaza flotilla raised serious questions about Israel’s commitment to freedom of the press. “Journalists covering a legitimate news event should be allowed to do their jobs without threats and intimidation. We urge the government to reverse its decision immediately,” it said.

It’s like a parody at this point. Some kind of theatrical farce. Israel has decided to own its role as the villain of the piece and is doing its utmost to be the very best villain it can possibly be. Israel will outdo everyone and win awards and accolades for its bravura performance.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton “said last week that the flotilla was not ‘useful’ and consular officials tried to persuade US nationals in Athens not to join the flotilla.”

Not useful to whom? Obviously, the flotilla is not “useful” to the U.S. policy of making Israel happy. Seems to me, though, that it might be a good idea to tell Israel that trying to intimidate journalists from doing their job is not so “useful,” either.

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