IDF soldiers patrol during a raid 390 (R).
(photo credit: Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday strongly condemned a
pre-dawn IDF raid on two TV stations in Ramallah, calling it a “flagrant assault
on freedom of expression and media.”
IDF soldiers and officials from the
Communications Ministry who raided the stations, Watan and Jerusalem
Educational, confiscated transmitters and other equipment.
The IDF said
that the raid was prompted by the station’s use of unauthorized frequencies,
which endanger flight routes over Ben-Gurion Airport.
The PA rejected the
charges, insisting that the raid was part of an Israeli campaign to crack down
on the Palestinian media.
This was not the first raid of its
In the past, the IDF confiscated transmission equipment belonging
to a number of private radio and TV stations in Ramallah and other West Bank
cities for the same reason.
In 2002, IDF soldiers raided the same two TV
stations and confiscated transmitters that disrupted communications at
During Wednesday’s raid, the IDF briefly detained
four employees who were inside the Watan TV station offices.
“This act of
piracy and invasions of Palestinian media institutions reminds us of the
occupation forces’ practices at the beginning of the second intifada,” PA Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad said during a tour of the offices of Watan.
said that the Palestinian response to such raids should be immediate so as to
allow the TV stations to resume their broadcasts “today before
Voicing his government’s readiness to help the targeted
stations go back on air, Fayyad accused Israel of seeking to undermine “what’s
left of the Palestinian Authority’s stature.”
Fayyad held the Quartet
members – the US, EU, UN and Russia – responsible for Israeli “transgressions”
against the Palestinians, adding that Wednesday’s raid was in violation of
international law and Israeli commitments in accordance with agreements signed
between the two parties.
Abdel Nasser Najjar, chairman of the
Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the West Bank, denounced
the raid on the two stations as an “Israeli crime against the Palestinian
media.” Israel’s goal was to prevent the truth from reaching the world through
the Palestinian media, he said.
Muammar Orabi, director of Watan TV,
described the raid as an act of “sabotage.”
He said that the confiscation
of equipment belonging to the two stations was a severe blow to the Palestinian
“We are not the first or last to be targeted by the Israelis,”
Orabi said. “This is part of a systematic policy by the occupation forces
against Palestinian journalists and media organizations.”
The PA Ministry
of Information accused Israel of resorting to “media terror” in a bid to conceal
“The raid and the theft [of equipment] once again exposes the
true face of occupation,” the ministry said in a statement.
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