Gaza media blockade challenged

Israel Materials 14 January 2009 03:49 (UTC +04:00)

Tel Aviv has not allowed any journalists into the war zone to cover the carnage.

A group of journalists has traveled to the Rafah border checkpoint in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade on reporters covering the Gaza crisis.

Seventeen journalists and media activists on Tuesday left Cairo for the border on a bus, demanding to be let into the war-torn region to cover the Israeli atttack on the Gaza Strip, reported Press TV .

Israel's 18-day-old onslaught in Gaza has killed at least 975 Palestinians and wounded 4400 others, mostly women and children.

Despite an Israeli court ruling, Tel Aviv has not allowed any journalists into the war zone to cover the carnage.

The trip's organizer, the Doha Centre for Media Freedoms, says the move was unsuccessful after the group spent a night at a hotel in nearby El-Arish.

"We are being optimistic," AFP quoted Robert Maynard, head of the media rights group, as saying on the way back from the crossing.

Maynard stated that the journalists would try to enter the Gaza Strip again on Wednesday, hoping the Egyptian government may "show they are different."

The move came a week after many international news outlets and activists issued a joint call with global press watchdog Reporters Without Borders for Israel to allow foreign journalists into the besieged territory.

The journalists also expressed solidarity with their Palestinian colleagues and criticized the Israeli army for its refusal to allow journalists into Gaza.

On Saturday, journalists in Gaza accused Israel of targeting them as they reported on the conflict.