The FPA is a non-profit organization representing journalists working for international news organizations reporting from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip

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FPA Statements 2008

December 29, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA protests in the strongest terms the army’s imposition of ‘closed military zone’ on everything along the Gaza Strip border inside Israel.

The Foreign media should have unrestricted access to all Israeli villages and towns under attack and the freedom to cover all sides of the conflict zone at a time like this.

The claim that this is being done “for our protection” is patently ridiculous.

December 28, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA demands immediate access for journalists to the Gaza Strip from the Israeli authorities in light of the current situation, which is of great interest to news consumers worldwide.

Because of the ongoing ban on journalists entering Gaza even during this period, the FPA has asked the Israeli Supreme Court to intervene.

December 28, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA objects strongly to the Palestinian security forces in Hebron who have once again targetted journalists for unacceptable treatment – roughing up legitimate journalists and confiscating tapes. 

The outrageous attacks on journalists came after security forces had used live fire on a Palestinian demonstration in support of Gaza.

This incident runs completely contrary to reassurances received from senior security officials that the right to work of legitimate journalists would be respected at all times.

December 14, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA expresses its dismay over the Israeli Government’s decision to close the Erez crossing this morning in what appears to be a pattern of random openings and closings.

The Israeli authorities have an obligation to ensure access to the Gaza Strip for international journalists.

This current erratic policy constitutes a serious violation of press freedom.

The FPA is pressing ahead with its petition to the Supreme Court urging that the government immediately restores the international media’s access to Gaza.

December 3, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to protest in the strongest possible terms the ban on Al Jazeera journalists from reporting inside Al Muqata in Ramallah. For two weeks now Al Jazeera television crews and journalists have been prevented from gaining access to the presidential compound to do their job. No reason has been given for this infringement of press freedom.

We urge the authorities in Ramallah to immediately end this restriction, thereby living up to the Palestinian Authority’s own claims that it respects the basic ideals of a free press. There can be no legitimate excuse for this unacceptable curtailment of press access to the office and activities of the President.

November17, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

Last week the FPA expressed its objection to the prolonged closure of the Erez crossing into Gaza for international journalists, saying it amounted to a serious violation of press freedom.

This situation remains unchanged and it has now become clear that Israel’s official policy is to block the entrance of journalists into the Gaza strip.

‘We regard this as an unconscionable breach of the Israeli Goverment’s responsibility to allow journalists to do their jobs in this region.

The international media serve as the world’s window into Gaza providing vital coverage of all aspects of Gazan life to news consumers around the world

We believe that this unprecedented closure goes against Israel’s own insistence that it is a democracy that respects freedom of the media.

Because of the gravity of the situation, the FPA calls on its members to appeal to their respective governments and their own news organizations to convey to the Israeli government the urgency of lifting the closure.

November 10, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association expresses its grave concern about a five-day-old closure that has made the Gaza Strip inaccessible to the foreign media. It is absolutely essential that international journalists be allowed to enter the territory and deliver their news reports to Israel and the rest of the world. 

The Israeli government has offered no plausible explanation for the extended lockdown and current hostilities need not preclude movement of journalists. We note that humanitarian cases are still going in and out, proving safe passage is possible. 

At a time when the current ceasefire is being tested and a fuel shortage threatens to unleash a new humanitarian crisis, it is particularly essential that the media be allowed to do their job.

The curtailing of journalists’ right to enter Gaza is a serious violation of press freedom.

August 13, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA expresses its dismay over the findings of the IDF’s investigation into the death of Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana.The IDF’s decision to close its probe without taking any disciplinary action is the latest in a long line of cases clearing its soldiers of deadly negligence.

According to the army, soldiers suspected Fadel was a militant preparing to attack a tank. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both Fadel and his vehicle were clearly identified as journalists.

The FPA believes the army is obligated to clearly identify its targets before firing, especially in areas where civilians and journalists are present. The mere suspicion of possible hostilities should not be enough to justify overwhelming deadly force.

We hope that the army’s conclusion does not give soldiers free license to fire without being sure of the target, thereby greatly hindering the media’s ability to cover the conflict. 

August 3, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

On Thursday, July 31, Preventive Security officers in Bethlehem brutally attacked a group of some nine photographers attempting to cover a demonstration by the Hizb al-Tahrir Party. Several of the photographers were injured in the attack. Two days later, journalists were prevented from covering a Hizb al-Tahrir protest in Ramallah. 

The FPA strongly condemns these incidents, which amount to severe violations of press freedom. The unprovoked attack in Bethlehem revealed an alarming lack of professionalism and was an unconscionable violation of human rights. 

The FPA demands a full explanation of why this incident occurred and assurances from the Palestinian Authority that this sort of violation will not happen again. Performing our journalistic duties is becoming increasingly difficult in the Palestinian territories, with abuses taking place in both the West Bank and Gaza. 

We urge all the relevant authorities to consider the costs of such behavior: If the foreign media do not feel safe covering the Palestinian territories, then the story of the Palestinians cannot be told.

July 31, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association acknowledges the release of ARD cameraman Sawah Abu Saif from his detention in the Gaza Strip. However, we express our profound concern over information we have received that Abu Saif was tortured at the hands of Hamas security. Such abuse runs counter to any civilized notion of respect for human rights, and we sharply condemn it. In addition, we are very concerned about the nature of Abu Saif’s interrogation, as reported by ARD, which points to clear violations of the principles of a free press. 

All this harms the ability of the foreign media to operate freely in the Gaza Strip. Without basic guarantees of safety, we will not be able to do our jobs there – to the detriment of the people of Gaza. 

July 30, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association demands the immediate release of ARD cameraman Sawaf Abu Saif from custody by the Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We are deeply concerned about reports that Abu Saif’s health and safety have been jeopardized. 

Abu Saif is a working member of the foreign media in Gaza. His detention cannot be justified and represents a clear violation of freedom of the press. It is essential that the Gaza authorities reveal his whereabouts and his condition – and set him free without delay. 

Events such as this seriously affect the international media’s ability to cover Gaza. Without basic guarantees of safety, such coverage is likely to decrease, to the detriment of Gaza’s people and the free practice of journalism.

July 26, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association expresses its grave concern about the detention of German ARD TV’s cameraman Sawah Abu Seif by Hamas forces in Gaza, and we demand that he be set free immediately. 

This arrest appears to represent a serious violation of freedom of the press, and we urge the authorities in Gaza to do their utmost to see to it that Abu Seif’s safety and human rights are respected. 

Incidents like this are likely to deter foreign journalists from entering Gaza and carry out their vital mission of bearing witness to what is happening in the area. Members of the foreign media, like Abu Seif, must be respected and allowed to do their jobs.

April 23, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to express its profound concern over the lack of a full Israeli explanation of last week’s killing of Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana by IDF forces in the Gaza Strip. We urge the Israeli authorities to conclude a speedy, thorough and accurate investigation into this tragic event. This is an issue which affects all foreign journalists working in Israel and the Palestinian territories. An immediate and full accounting of the occurrence from the IDF is also necessary so that media organizations can take urgent action needed to ensure the future safety of our crews. Members of the foreign press must know that the parties in this conflict understand the unique role of the press in bringing the world vital information about this region and that utmost care must be taken not to target or harm journalists faithfully carrying out this important mission.

April 16, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The FPA wishes to express its profound sadness over the tragic death of Reuters Camerman Fadel Shana in Gaza. Fadel was covering the latest Israeli military operations near Bureij when he was fatally wounded. The FPA urges the IDF to show greater urgency in this investigation and in addressing the concerns arising from Fadel’s tragic death.

Video footage shot by Fadel himself shows that he was hit by a tank shell. At the time, Fadel was not in an area where any fighters were present. He and his vehicle had clear markings indicating he was a member of the press. He was at least one and a half kilometers from the tank from which the shell that killed him was fired.

 His death is a stark reminder of the risks our Palestinian colleagues take every day to cover the news in Gaza.

We urge both the IDF and all armed factions in the area to do everything in their power to preserve the safety of journalists.

The FPA sends its sincere condolences to Fadel’s family, his friends and his colleagues at Reuters.

April 9, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association demands the immediate freedom of eight RAM-FM staff members who have been placed under house arrest and forbidden to speak publicly. Three of the eight are accredited journalists with valid GPO cards, and their arrests raise particular concern about the issue of freedom of expression in Israel. 

Regardless of the merits of the charges brought by the Ministry of Communication against RAM-FM, the FPA strongly deplores the tactics used by authorities in this case, which have included raiding RAM-FM’s offices, seizing its equipment, arresting its staff for 24 hours, and then placing personnel under house arrest. 

We call upon the government of Israel to recognize the peaceful spirit under which RAM-FM operates and its goal of fostering coexistence between the Israeli and Palestinian people. 

April 8, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association demands the immediate release of the eight RAM FM staff still being held by the Israeli police in a Jerusalem police station after their offices were raided and equipment was seized on Monday. 

Notwithstanding the merits of the charges brought by the Ministry of Communications against RAM FM – the FPA strongly deplores their continued detention in police custody and calls on those holding them to pursue the matter through routine channels rather than through this absurd imprisonment – now approaching a full 24 hours in jail.

March 13, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association

The Foreign Press Association is deeply concerned about recent indications of possible Israeli sanctions against the Al Jazeera television network, simply because the government disagrees with the way the network has chosen to cover Israel and the Palestinian territories. This incident could create a dangerous environment for the targeted media outlet, whose members could face physical harm from enraged citizens. We strongly urge the government of Israel to respect fundamental principles of freedom of the press, and to allow our member to do their jobs unhindered. 

February 18, 2008
Statement by the Foreign Press Association


In recent days the FPA has received a number of separate reports from colleagues in Gaza suggesting a renewed threat to foreign journalists. 

These threats come from the Army of Islam and there have been reports of gunmen entering hotels and checking for the presence of foreign journalists. 

It is hard to deliver an accurate assessment of how serious this threat is but we urge all members to be extra vigilant and to consider their profile and exposure while working in Gaza. 

We will distribute additional information as we get it. 

Please send in any information you may have. 

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