Frontline World

ISRAEL/PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, In the Line of Fire, March 2003


Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "In the Line of Fire"

INTERVIEW WITH PATRICIA NAYLOR
When Journalists Become Targets

THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACES FOR JOURNALISTS
Charting Worldwide Risks

THE PALESTINIANS AND THE PRESS
Hazards for Reporters Working in the West Bank and Gaza

STANDING UP FOR THE REPORTERS
Interview with Committee to Protect Journalists

DIVERGENT ISRAELI VIEWS
Danny Seaman and Gideon Levy

LINKS & RESOURCES
Press freedom, slain journalists, background

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Divergent Israeli Views
When FRONTLINE/World correspondent Patricia Naylor interviewed Danny Seaman, head of the Israeli government office that deals with foreign press, he vehemently defended government policy. Naylor asked him about the widespread view among journalists that the Israeli government had suppressed open reporting and Seaman responded, "Excuse me, but bovine feces." By contrast, when she spoke with Gideon Levy, a prominent Israeli columnist, he offered a searing critique. Levy said that in the last two years of reporting on conflict zones, he'd become "much more afraid of the Israeli soldiers rather than the Palestinians." As it turned out, Levy had his reasons; in summer 2002 the taxi he was riding in came under a barrage of gunfire from Israeli soldiers. Read about the disputed shooting, and the dispute over the Israeli military's treatment of reporters.

Danny Seaman

Danny Seaman

Danny Seaman is director of Israel's government press office. When Naylor interviewed him in July 2002, Seaman argued that the attack by Israeli soldiers on the taxicab carrying journalist Gideon Levy and his colleagues was an unfortunate aberration. "The chain of command was not followed," Seaman explained. But he also was clearly angry about the more general criticism of Israeli government policy toward reporters. Most injured reporters, he insisted, had been hurt "only in areas where there was combat -- and they were not supposed to be there." Read edited excerpts from Naylor's interview with Seaman.

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Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy is former deputy editor of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz and now a columnist and editorial writer for the paper. He is the only Israeli journalist covering the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from inside the Palestinian territories. When interviewed in August 2002, Levy was still reeling from an incident in which he was fired upon by Israeli soldiers. Though the soldiers were reprimanded in the aftermath of the attack, the incident was simply a footnote to a larger, more disturbing problem, Levy argued. "Because it was me, it became a big fuss. Let's remember the real victims are the Palestinians, and they are being shot like this on a daily basis," Levy said. Read edited excerpts from Naylor's interview with Levy.