Israel top court rejects foreign media appeal for journalists’ access to Gaza

Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by international media organizations to allow independent access for journalists to the war-torn Gaza Strip.

Israel controls entry to the Palestinian territory and has not allowed journalists to travel there independently since the start of the war on October 7, triggered by the Hamas terror group’s murderous onslaught across southern Israel.

The court argued the restrictions were justified on security grounds, as the independent entry of journalists could endanger Israeli soldiers battling Gaza’s Hamas terrorists.

In its ruling handed down on Monday, the court said allowing journalists inside Gaza could give away operational details, including troop locations, in a way that could “put them in real danger.”

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Jerusalem, which floated the petition as a representative of dozens of international media organizations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said it was disappointed by the ruling.

“Israel’s ban on independent foreign press access to Gaza, for 95 days straight, is unprecedented,” the FPA says in a statement

The court said it was seeking to find a balance between the safety of journalists and soldiers with the “freedom of the press.”

It stressed that foreign and Israeli journalists are allowed limited access to Gaza under Israeli military escort.

But the FPA said the military escorts have been “limited to select foreign media” and are “highly controlled.”

“We believe Israel’s concerns about reporting on troop positions do not withstand scrutiny at a time when Palestinian journalists continue to operate in Gaza, and when it is vital for foreign press to access areas of Gaza where troops are not present,” the FPA says.

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