Ten offices of Palestinian media outlets were closed by Israel’s army. They allegedly disseminated "inflammatory content."
Shuttered: the offices of PalMedia in Nablus, West Bank Photo: reuters
Almost one hundred Palestinian camera and sound people, editors and television technicians have to take an involuntary vacation. Since midweek, ten offices of several media companies in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron have been under lock and key for six months, according to Israeli military orders.
During night raids in the West Bank, Israeli security guards confiscated camera equipment, lighting equipment and computers before welding the entrances shut with iron plates. The companies TransMedia, PalMedia and Ramsat were suspected of disseminating "inflammatory content," a spokeswoman for the Israeli army said in response to a query.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Press Freedom protested the "drastic violations" aimed at "expelling and silencing the Palestinian media." The three companies involved are service companies that provide equipment and professional assistance to local and international television stations. According to army information, the clients include Al Aqsa and Al Quds channels, which are said to be affiliated with the Islamist movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Israel’s security apparatus and government politicians blame the incitement in the media, in Palestinian schools and on social networks for the terror perpetrated by lone wolves. These often involve very young perpetrators who decide to commit an act of violence against Israelis without any connection to political organizations. "The security services will continue their efforts against incitement in Judea and Samaria," the army spokeswoman said, announcing further operations in the Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled A-Zone in the West Bank. PA spokesman Yussef Mahmud called the raids a "grave violation of international law."
Several dozen Palestinian journalists demonstrated in Ramallah against the raids. The two Islamic broadcasters Al Quds and Al Aqsa are only indirectly affected by the closures and will continue their broadcasts from Gaza and Lebanon.