Israel Arrests Journalist Critical of Gaza War
Israel Police yesterday detained Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass as she left the Gaza Strip, where she had been living and reporting for the last few months.
Hass was arrested and taken in for questioning immediately after crossing the border, for violating a law forbidding residence in an enemy state.
She was released on bail after promising not to enter the Gaza Strip for the next 30 days.
Hass is the first Israeli journalist to enter the Gaza Strip in more than two years, after the Israel Defense Forces issued an entry ban following the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in a 2006 cross-border raid by Palestinian militants.
Shalit was captured in 2006 in a cross-border operation conducted a day after Israeli forces kidnapped two civilians in Gaza city.
Last December, Hass was arrested for having entered the Gaza Strip aboard a ship run by peace activists from Europe. The soldiers at the Erez checkpoint detained her as she tried to cross into the territory.
She was then handed over to Sderot police who later released her under restriction, but said her case would be sent to court.
The Gaza Strip has been under a severe Israeli siege since June 2007, when democratically elected Palestinian government Hamas was forced to limit its rule to the coastal territory amidst pressure from its Western-backed rival Fatah.
Along with the Israeli-imposed movement restrictions, which have further plagued the impoverished region’s shattered economy and propelled Gaza onto the brink of a humanitarian crisis, the Cairo government refuses to open the Rafah border crossing.
The seizure has disrupted delivery of necessary aid cargos into the territory where almost half of its 1.5-million-strong population is dependent on aid handouts.