Palestinian journalists slam use of 'TV' vehicle in Gaza attack
Foreign Press Association: Incident is 'grave development'; Olmert: Militants made use of Israel's 'special sensitivity' to media freedom.
The Palestinian journalists' union criticized militants Sunday for using a vehicle marked with a "TV" sign to approach Gaza's frontier border with Israel and attempt to kidnap an Israel Defense Forces soldier from a position across the border.
"The use of vehicles that carry 'Press', 'TV' or other signs... expose journalists' lives to danger, gives the Israeli occupation a pretext to target and kill journalists and restricts their ability to perform their professional and national duties," the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate said.
"We stress our rejection of the use of media vehicles and the involvement of the press in any existing conflict, and we demand all parties stop using these methods," said the group, the sole journalists' union in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
News photographs showed the white armored vehicle, with "TV" in red letters on the front, at Kissufim Crossing after the attack, bullet holes in its windshield.
The Israel-based Foreign Press Association said in a statement the use of a vehicle marked with TV insignia represented "abuse of this recognized protection for the working journalist" and was "a grave development."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in broadcast remarks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, said Sunday that the attackers used "a vehicle marked 'TV' in order to fool Israeli soldiers."
He said the gunmen had tried "to take advantage of the special sensitivity that we have in a democratic country such as ours, to the right of the media to operate freely and independently in security-sensitive areas."
Abu Ahmed, spokesman for Islamic Jihad's armed wing, accused the IDF of fixing the TV sign to the armored car.