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Netanyahu rescinds decision to sanction journalists on board Gaza flotilla

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Netanyahu rescinds order against journalistsAfter a day in which every single news media outlet in the world seemed to weigh in, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rescinded a Government Press Office decision to sanction any foreign journalist who participates in the Gaza Strip flotilla.

GPO director Oren Helman had announced on Sunday that any foreign journalist on the flotilla would be treated as an illegal infiltrator, meaning they would be deported and then barred from entering Israel for 10 years. But yesterday Netanyahu's bureau issued a press release rescinding that decision.

"When the matter was brought to his attention, the prime minister directed that the regular policy against infiltrators and those who enter Israel illegally not be implemented," the terse statement said. "It has also been agreed that members of the Israeli and international media will be attached to Israel Navy vessels in order to create transparency and credible coverage of the events."

The Foreign Press Association, which had condemned Sunday's decision for sending "a chilling message to the international media" that "raises serious questions about Israel's commitment to freedom of the press," welcomed yesterday's reversal.

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