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Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2002 at 11:48 AM
"These have not been blunders but a deliberate policy of hiding from the world the truth of the Israeli army's violence and abuses,
Paris, April, 23, 2002, Wafa - Reporters Sans Frontieres, RSF, the international pressure group for journalists, has condemned Israel in the strongest terms for its "grim toll of attacks on press freedom”. In an outspoken statement, RSF accused Israel of taking a "racist attitude to the Arab media" and claimed its violations of press freedom were "deliberate”.
The policy of the Israeli authorities towards the international media, especially Palestinian journalists, must be condemned for what it is: a massive, deliberate and conscious violation of press freedom and an unprecedented low in the history of Israel," the organization said.
As the Israeli army began its retreat from the Jenin refugee camp, RSF published details of the journalists it claims have been wounded or held back by the authorities. RSF said seven journalists had been wounded, four detained, 15 arrested, 60 targeted by gunfire and 20 "roughed up or threatened" in the intense round of fighting in West Bank towns such as Jenin and Ramallah. RSF also said 10 Arab media offices were "occupied or ransacked" by the Israeli army.”
The figures show the brutality of the Israeli army and its discriminatory, even racist attitude towards the Arab media and Palestinian journalists," said RSF. "There has been repeated obstruction of working journalists, arbitrary arrests, physical threats and a determination to belittle and humiliate - an aggression that has led to several journalists being wounded by gunfire and one even killed. "These have not been blunders but a deliberate policy of hiding from the world the truth of the Israeli army's violence and abuses, which must be clearly condemned and met with international sanctions," it added.
Last week journalists covering the activities of the Israeli army in Jenin protested at their exclusion from certain areas in the West Bank. BBC reporter Orla Guerin came under fire! from the Israeli army while reporting from Ramallah.
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