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Al-Jazeera Crews Repeatedly Detained In Israel

(AP)
According to U.S. News & World Report, Israel has instructed journalists not to identify where the Katyusha rockets coming from Lebanon are falling. Authorities made the request in an effort to "deny Hezbollah any information useful for better aiming at targets," but journalists have ignored it, reputedly opting to report from the scene of the most recent hit.

U.S. News' Orly Halpern spoke to "Yehezkel" at the military censor's office, who told Halpern that "we are flexible." He added: "If it happened on a city street where people were killed, it's impossible to stop [the media]."

Perhaps. But while people like Amir Bar Shalom, chief military correspondent for Israel's Channel 1 television, vow to report whatever they want (while also trying not to help Hezbollah), Al-Jazeera crews were detained four times in two days by Israeli police.

"They said there were claims that our broadcasts are helping Hezbollah," Al-Jazeera bureau chief Walid al-Omary told Halpern. "That's ridiculous. My work doesn't help Hezbollah. What about the Israeli stations that even name the address of the house [that was hit]? I want them to tell me, what are we broadcasting which is different from the others?" Al-Omary explained what he characterized as harassment by saying "it's easy to bother the Arabs."

It's understandable that Israeli authorities would be more distrustful of Al-Jazeera than their homegrown press, but it makes for an uneven playing field when it comes to covering the conflict. As Channel 1's Bar Shalom noted, "the [authorities] suspect them immediately. They never suspect me."