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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 02, 2003

Targeting Journalists

This article indicates how Palestinian terror groups closely watch, monitor and even shadow Israeli journalists.
How can you explain the fact that journalists have become a target for terrorists?

"First of all a terrorist organization, by its very nature, must always invest resources in gathering intelligence on-line about interesting figures who are gaining power, about various social developments, etc.
Since the Palestinian Authority has come into power, it understands the importance of intelligence gathering. Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security Organization used to operate a unit that dealt specifically
with wiretaps and intelligence gathering. Regarding journalists, the truth is I don't understand what good it does them. I don't understand why the organization sought me out specifically, I don't understand what
good it would have done in trying to take me out. Their agenda doesn't mention the word 'reporter' as a preferred target."

Yoram Binur, Channel Two's reporter for Arab affairs sounds much more disturbed from the growing and apparent tendency. "The fact the Israeli journalists, along with academic researchers dealing with the
Palestinian issue, are being threatened, is very frightening," he says. "There is a serious danger here that jeopardizes the freedom of expression in Israel. It is a very serious situation that must not be
tolerated. The offensive intervention of terrorist organizations, with the intention of threatening and influencing the words of Israeli reporters, is crossing a red line. There is clear evidence of the terrorist cells' abilities to threaten and carry out their threats. If Israeli journalists become threatened on a regular basis, that breaks the consensus that existed here for years. We must not belittle their military capabilities. They have shown us more than once just what they are capable of. The activists sent out on these missions carry them out with all the loyalty and professionalism of the elite commando unit."

What broke the consensus? Why have journalists become the enemy in the eyes of the terrorist organizations?

Binur: "We need to focus on one important point: the Israeli media, particularly during the current intifada, is perceived in the eyes of Palestinian opinion as collaborators. Israeli journalists have been considered during recent years as cooperating with the establishment, a kind of messenger of the Zionist regime. In the opinion of everyone in the Territories, the Israeli press has been recruited on behalf of the government. In contrast with the prevailing approach in Israel, which actually believes that the Israeli press is left-wing, they perceive Israeli reporters as ambassadors of the Zionist state. In the previous intifada, the Israeli journalists served as a mouthpiece for the occupied people. Today things are different." [more]
And the sad thing is that fellow journalists, non-Israelis, remain silent!