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Palestinian officials slam Israeli raid on Ramallah-based TV

12 March 2016 11:43



Palestinian officials have denounced Israel’s closure of the offices of a satellite television channel in the occupied West Bank in yet another instance of Israeli crackdown on the media.

Palestinian Authority spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud described the Israeli raid on Palestine Today TV station in Ramallah as “part of the aggressive occupation policy towards Palestinian media.”

Tel Aviv has targeted Palestinian and foreign journalists reporting on the Palestinian cause for decades, Mahmoud said, citing the Israeli airstrikes on the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation’s headquarters in Ramallah in 2002.

On Friday, Israeli forces stormed the Ramallah offices of Palestine Today TV and arrested a manager, claiming the channel has been fueling violence across the occupied territories.

However, the Palestinian channel is currently available on NileSat and Arabsat, according to reports.

A Palestinian man inspects the damage following a raid by Israeli forces on Palestine Today TV offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 11, 2016. ©Reuters

Hanan Ashrawi, member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, also denounced the Israeli raid, saying it contravenes free speech rules.

“Incursions into areas under the Palestinian Authority’s control and attacking its sovereignty and media institution [are] a stark violation of basic human rights and international and humanitarian laws that have safeguarded freedom of speech,” she said.

In another development, Al Aqsa TV, the official Hamas-run television channel, said its broadcasts through the French-based satellite provider Eutelsat had been stopped.

Earlier this week, Israeli decided to close Palestinian media outlets, accusing them of incitement.

Israeli forces shut down three local radio stations in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) last October and November and confiscated their broadcast equipment.

The occupied lands have been the scene of tensions after Israel’s imposition in August 2015 of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Around 200 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.

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