In a 24 October 2001 letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, IPI strongly condemned the decision of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to close the villages of Beit Reema and Deir Ghassana to journalists.
According to IPI’s sources, on 24 October, the IDF refused journalists access to Beit Reema, a village on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, and Deir Ghassana, another West Bank village. Both Palestinian villages have been declared closed military zones and the media have been prevented from entering. Early Israeli and Palestinian news reports stated that several villagers had been killed as a result of Israeli army incursions into the villages, which started on the morning of 24 October.
This latest press freedom violation appears to be part of a concerted effort by the IDF to control what is being reported about the resumption of armed hostilities in the region.