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Israel bans press in the Gaza Strip

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Israel's Supreme Court responded on Tuesday by giving the state 15 days to respond to the FPA demand. But lawyers for the FPA appealed the decision, suggesting that it was an old-fashioned schedule in an age of real-time news.

"We're trying to make it clear to them that 15 days is too long," says Naomi Vestfrid, one of the lawyers on the case.

"We're in the 21st century: news travels in minutes, even seconds. We're trying to tell them that obviously, you didn't understand the urgency in the matter," says Ms. Vestfrid.

Israel has long maintained careful control over the amount of goods and people allowed to come in and out of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, home to about 1.5 million Palestinians living under great economic hardship.

As part of its disengagement from Gaza in September 2005, Israel withdrew soldiers and settlers from the territory it had occupied for 38 years and said that the Gaza Strip was no longer its responsibility. However, Israel still controls all access to Gaza via land, sea, and air. Gazans are also dependent on Israel for electricity and fuel.

Since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel has further tightened its control over the territory, allowing an on-again, off-again trickle of commercial or other traffic over the border.

Israeli officials say they allow humanitarian aid and other necessary supplies into Gaza, but Palestinians say they are living under siege.

The latest clampdown on any access to and from Gaza stems from recent rocket attacks on southern Israel from militants in the Gaza Strip. Israel and Hamas had agreed to a temporary truce – called tahdiya in Arabic or regia in Hebrew – but the quiet was shattered by both sides over the past two weeks.

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