Instead of conducting an investigation as to why the Israeli Airforce
deliberately targetted a clearly labelled Press vehicle with a missile
on August 27th, the Israeli Government Press Office has chosen instead
to focus on the fact that Palestinian journalists were in the vehicle
— leading them to conclude that 'terrorists' could be using press
The Israeli Government Press Office, an agency within the Prime Minister's office that acts as a mouthpiece for the Israeli government, and controls all domestic and international press, is apparently basing their conclusion on the idea that if a person is Palestinian, they are a terrorist, for there is absolutely no evidence that any press vehicle has ever been used in any act of violence.
The Government Press Office is the only avenue by which foreign press can gain access to Israeli government officials, press conferences, and entry into the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, has a long standing policy of harassing and intimidating news agencies who broadcast or print stories that the Office considers critical of Israel.
In 2002, the Director of the Government Press Office, Danny Seaman, revoked the press cards of all Palestinian reporters "for security reasons". He also revoked the licenses of foreign reporters who he thought were reporting items that were critical of Israel, including Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian (UK), Lee Hockstader of the Washington Post, Sandro Contenta of the Montreal Star, and Gillian Findlay of ABC News. Instead of challenging Seaman's actions, which were clearly meant to intimidate and censor the foreign press, the news agencies of all four reporters decided to reassign them rather than risk their news agency being 'blacklisted' altogether by Israel. Rula Amin, an employee with CNN, was reassigned to Baghdad after the Israeli Government Press Office threatened CNN, and demanding that she be fired for perceived anti-Israel bias in her reporting of the daily violence of the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.
Since the Israeli 'Operation Summer Rains' began on June 27th, at least seven incidents of direct targetting of journalists have been reported.
The Israeli Government Press Office justified the attack on the armored Reuters vehicle on August 27th by saying that the vehicle had not been licensed to be in Gaza. Reporters who wish to cover the conflict from inside the Gaza Strip are apparently expected to do so without armored vehicles or protection, as the Israeli government licenses for press vehicles allow them to be operated only within Israel, and its illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Apparently reporters are expected to report on the conflict taking place within the Palestinian Occupied Territories without ever entering the territories at all.
Said Government Press Office Director Danny Seaman, "To the best of our knowledge, all of the vehicles' owners have been violating the conditions for a long time now, despite our requests. This is not the first time we are warning that these vehicles will be used by hostile agents to carry out a terror attack against Israel. The recent incident in Gaza only illustrates the danger."
No investigation has been carried out as to why the press vehicle was targetted, and with the Government Press Office justifying the attack on the journalists, it appears unlikely that there will be any investigation into the attack.
The Israeli missile strike on the Reuters vehicle has deterred reporters from entering the Gaza Strip to cover the conflict, which many reporters who have reported from Gaza say will give the world a one-sided view of the conflict by not showing the Palestinian side. Some have even gone so far as to say that is Israel's objective in its ongoing attacks on journalists.