Rules regarding cards and certificates for journalists, press technicians and media assistants -Temporary Amendments

(Communicated by the GPO)

Following Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz’s order in accordance with Article 22a of the 2005 Disengagement Plan Implementation Law, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel has issued an order restricting entry to the Gaza Strip.

The entry of media personnel who are not residents of the area (as defined in the order) is conditional upon receiving the proper permit, in accordance with the statement issued by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office has determined that the issuance of such permits is conditional – inter alia – on the presentation of a valid Government Press Office (GPO) card.

Said permits issued by the IDF Spokesperson’s office are valid until 23:59 of 15 August 2005. As of Monday, 15 August 2005 (evacuation day), entering and being present in the area is completely prohibited unless an additional permit has been issued by the commander of IDF forces.

Since permits for the entry of media personnel into the area up to 15 August 2005 are given – inter alia – on the basis of a valid GPO card, we see it proper to make it clear that media personnel who are in the area unlawfully are subject to proceedings to revoke their GPO card.

GPO card revocation proceedings will be taken in accordance with Articles 10B-C of the “Rules Regarding Cards and Certificates for Journalists, Press Technicians and Media Assistants.”

Additional measures may be taken against those media organizations whose personnel either enter or are present in the area after 15 August 2005 without the proper permits according to law.

Entering and/or being present in the area without a proper permit also constitute a criminal offense.

The following temporary regulation is in addition to the “Rules Regarding Cards and Certificates for Journalists, Press Technicians and Media Assistants.” It should be pointed out that – as specified in the aforementioned rules – GPO cards, in and of themselves, do not constitute entry permits to the area and do not provide their holders with any legal rights.

10(i)a. The GPO may cancel a Card or Certificate if it becomes clear that the holder of the Card or certificate is present in the Gaza Strip after 15 August 2005 (inclusive) without a proper permit.

(b). Articles 10B-C apply to such cancellations.

(c). Article 11 applies to the return of Cards or Certificates cancelled in accordance with 10(i)a above.

IDF Spokesman Update
14 August 2005

The IDF, in coordination with the Israeli Police, will begin the enforcement of the law limiting entry and presence of Israeli civilians in the four communities due to be evacuated in the northern West Bank, within the framework of the Disengagement Plan, in accordance with the order issued by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, as detailed in article 22a of the Implementation of the Disengagement Plan 2005 Law. The order will be enforced beginning tonight at midnight.

All journalists who wish to remain or enter the northern West Bank areas that are due to be evacuated after tonight, Sunday August 14, 2005, must coordinate their entry via the IDF Media and Communications Division. This coordination includes presenting a valid GPO card, and signing the attached waiver forms, as the area becomes a closed military zone. These waivers (one to be signed by the journalist, the other to be signed by the news organization) are similar to ones journalists were requested to sign this week in order to enter Gaza.

These documents will be made available on the IDF website.

The waiver forms must be transferred to the IDF Media and Communications Division. Media representatives must also maintain copies of the waiver forms and present them upon request at crossings into the areas designated for evacuation in the northern West Bank.

Additional information regarding the waiver forms will be available at the IDF Media & Communications Division offices.

Eshkol Media Center
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

During the disengagement from the Gaza Strip the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, in coordination with the Israel Police, will open on Sunday (August 14) at noon (12:00) a joint media center for Israeli and foreign reporters covering the disengagement from Gaza.

The media center will provide the latest updated information regarding developments during the implementation of the plan. Background information regarding the Gaza Strip and the disengagement plan will also be available at the center. 

On-camera briefings will be given by field commanders on a daily basis at the media center.

To receive the latest updates and information regarding the implementation of the disengagement and ongoing events in the Gaza Strip, press should contact the IDF Spokesperson’s News Desk, located in the control room of the media center, at 08-9904902/3.

For all other information regarding IDF activity, including the West Bank and the Israeli northern border press should contact the IDF Spokesperson’s News Desk in Tel-Aviv, as usual at 03-6080245 /248/ 308

During the time of the disengagement the regional desks will wok as one unit which will deal will all foreign press requests and can be reached in the following numbers: 03-6080235/236/318/326.

You are warmly invited to visit the media center, located in the Eshkol Regional Council. The Eshkol reception no. is 08-9904956/23/24.

Ongoing latest updates will be released via beepers; therefore we advise media personnel who own beeper devices to carry their beepers on them.

The new press facility will be able to serve 2,500 journalists and correspondents simultaneously.

Representatives from the IDF Spokesperson Unit will brief the various reporters, and a subsequent briefing will give members of the press the opportunity to receive additional, in depth background information. There will be several services available to members of the press at the Eshkol regional council campus, including computer stands, wireless internet, and taxi services. There will be private work stations available at the organizational hub of the IDF Spokesperson Unit.

 Information for the press regarding entry into Gaza Strip and coverage of disengagement

Representatives from the IDF Spokesperson’s Film Unit will be on hand to dispense photographic materials taken by the unit, while briefings will be available in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and of course – Hebrew. Organized transportation will be arranged, leaving from the Eshkol community into the zones designated for evacuation. Entrance passes to those areas will be handed out to journalists and television crews.

Update August 22, 2005

Beginning today, August 22, 2005, the Eshkol Media Center will function in a very limited capacity as an information center and terminal for shuttles going to Gaza to view demolitions.

All media personnel must leave the Gaza Strip with their equipment by 22:00 pm tonight. There will be an IDF spokesperson office representative at Kissufim crossing who will be collecting the GPO cards of those media personnel who wish to enter Gaza with their vehicles in order to collect media representatives and equipment. The GPO cards will be returned to their owners upon their exit from Gaza.

The meeting point and shuttles terminal for the northern West Bank evacuation will open near the community of Shaked at 16:00 pm today. Contact information can be obtained from the Eshkol Media Center.

After 16:00 pm today, the evacuation area will no longer be accessible to media personnel with a GPO card only. Movement must be in coordination with IDF shuttles, which will leave from the Shaked meeting point. 30 places per community will be reserved for the foreign press. Places will be determined by the FPA. Please contact the FPA as soon as possible.

Those media members on the shuttle will remain inside the community until the evacuation is complete. Thank you for your cooperation during these difficult times. We look forward to the continuation of fruitful cooperation during the remaining days of the Disengagement.

Update August 23, 2005

Eshkol Media Center operating in a limited capacity

Members of the press should kindly note that the Eshkol Media Center will now be operating in a limited capacity. The news desk at the center has been closed. All operational real-time updates will now be once again provided by the Tel-Aviv News Desk, at the IDF Spokesperson’s Headquarters in Tel-Aviv. The Eshkol Media Center should now only be contacted regarding shuttle services into evacuated Gaza Strip communities, in order to cover the demolition of homes.

IDF Spokesperson’s News Desk, Tel-Aviv: 03-6080245/8
Eshkol Media Center (for shuttle services only): 08-9904923/24/55/56