Israel Sentences Journalists Arrested For Reporting Start of Gaza War

Reporters Get Two Months in Jail for Violating Military Censorship Laws

On January 3, the Israeli military launched its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Among the first journalists to report this were Khader Shahine and Mohammed Sarhan, Palestinian journalists who work for an Iranian news outlet. Days later the pair were arrested.

Today, an Israeli court sentenced them to two months in jail for reporting the story in violation of the harsh censorship laws imposed by the Israeli military during the month-long war. At the time, they argue, the invasion was “confidential information” and other journalists had apparently been ordered to keep the fact a secret, though the story broke worldwide roughly an hour later.

After their arrest, they were held for 10 days on charges of “spying” and later placed under house arrest, banned from practicing any journalist activities. The media freedom advocacy group Reporters Without Borders condemned the charges as disproportionate.

The arrest was also condemned by members of Israel’s opposition parties, and MP Ahmad Tibi noted that an Israeli journalist broke the story at roughly the same time but did not face any official sanctions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.