Writing in the Toronto Sun, freelance journalist Jay Bushinsky (pictured) described the latest business venture for Palestinians in Gaza: "Hostage taking and blackmail".
"Hostage taking is a dirty business, but it pays very well financially and politically… It has become the rage of the Middle East."
"Foreign correspondents, TV cameramen and still-photographers of non-Arab nationality who do not subscribe to the Islamic faith are the most lucrative prey. The sums paid for their release never are revealed by their respective media, nor are the concessions or commitments presumably made by their employers with regard to the slant their coverage will take once their personnel regain their freedom.?
Quoting Maariv journalist Yuval Hyman: ?Journalists scooped up like bowling pins off the teeming streets of Gaza can fetch up to $2 million each.?
Meanwhile, the BBC’s Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston has now spent over 4 weeks in captivity following his seizure by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza. Such is the level of lawlessness and violence, the UN is reportedly considering formally declaring the Gaza Strip a dangerous zone, which would lead to the evacuation of remaining foreign nationals.
According to HonestReporting UK: "It is clear that foreign journalists cannot possibly report objectively from the Gaza Strip while under the threat of intimidation, violence or kidnapping."
"So central is this affront to the freedom of the press and expression in the region that we are supporting the BBC’s international day of action to highlight the plight of Alan Johnston."
Sign the BBC online petition calling for Johnston’s immediate release here.