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Why Israel Won’t Allow Journalists Into Gaza

Overnight, the Jerusalem Post carried a story titled Navy Sends Activist Boat Back to Cyprus which said:

The Navy has turned back a boat trying to carry pro-Palestinian protesters to the Gaza Strip, officials said Tuesday

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the boat ignored an Israeli radio order to turn back early Tuesday. He said the boat tried to outmaneuver the navy ship and crashed into it, lightly damaging both vessels. The navy then escorted the boat to the territorial waters of Cyprus.

In a report from the AFP, Israeli authorities said is was all just a mistake:

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP that the naval vessel tried to contact the aid boat by radio for identification and to inform it that it could not enter Gaza.

"After the boat did not answer the radio, it sharply veered and the two vessels collided, causing only light damage," Palmor said.

The Israeli spokesman accused the pro-Palestinian activists of "seeking provocation more than ever."

But this time, a reporter, Karl Penhaul from CNN, was actually on the boat – and gave the report you see above as the events were happening:

the boat while still in international waters has been rammed by Israeli patrol boats, our vessel has been damaged …there’s been some damage to a roof section and to glass windows around the steering area and the captain says that the vessel is taking on a small amount of water, that at this stage is not life threatening but the ship was very severely rammed by one of those Israeli patrol boats, those patrol boats have been following the vessel for the half hour prior to the ramming incident … they rammed the vessel without warning but after the ramming there was a radio message saying the Israeli patrol boat was accusing the Dignity of being involved in terrorist activities.

No wonder Israel is continuing their refusal to allow foreign journalists into Gaza.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com