The Foreign Press Association in Israel has received a number of reports indicating an increase in invasive strip searches of journalists returning from Gaza at the Erez Crossing as well as damage to equipment during security searches. The FPA said it has raised its concerns with relevant Israeli authorities and is engaged in an ongoing dialogue with them.
The FPA has a meeting scheduled for Monday with Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant with whom the issue will once again be raised.
Gallant is a former chief of the Southern Command of the Israel Defense Forces, and is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet.
In the past, the FPA has complained about deliberate targeting and strip-searching of its Palestinian members who are bona fide journalists working for foreign media outlets.
But the intensive, invasive and sometimes abrasive security searches of journalists returning to Israel from Gaza have extended beyond Palestinian journalists – and today, the FPA said, all journalists have become suspect regardless of whether they are Israeli citizens or citizens of other countries with permits to work in Israel.