Israel shut down Palestine TV’s office and several other Palestinian institutions this morning in the occupied city of Jerusalem after raiding and confiscating files and surveillance cameras.
A notice was issued by the Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PCB), which stated the office will be closed for six months, accusing it of organising activities under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority within Jerusalem.
It has also been accused of broadcasting content which is intended to incite viewers against Israel and is being funded directly by the Palestinian Authority (PA) illegally, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Moreover, all staff were blocked from entering while journalist Christine Rinawi has been summoned for questioned, according to the Palestinian Safa news agency.
The Palestinian Media Forum strongly criticised Erdan’s decision calling it a violation of freedom of the press, connecting it to the recent injury of a Palestinian journalist in the occupied West Bank.
The PA’s representative in Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, stated that US support gives Israel the legitimacy to target Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, adding that the closures were a “flagrant violation” of international law, Safa reported.
“Israeli intelligence and police stormed the office of Palestine TV, which is inside the office of Al-Arz Media Company, and prevented the employees from entering,” one employee told Safa. Some devices were confiscated from the office, the worker added.
PCB called on international institutions concerned with freedom of speech, including the UN, to condemn and reject this decision by prosecuting Israel for its violations of press freedoms.
It affirmed that Palestine TV, Voice of Palestine Radio and all official Palestinian media will not be intimidated by the closures and will continue with their national mission to uncover the truth and expose Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people, highlighting this is Israel’s plan to silence the Palestinian national media.
Senior Palestine Liberation Organisation official Hanan Ashrawi also called on international bodies to “take immediate and tangible steps to hold Israel accountable for its persistent crimes and violations”.
She said: “The closures are a continuation of the Israeli government’s campaign against everything Palestinian in occupied Jerusalem and an attempt to alter the cultural and demographic composition of the City, in violation of its previous commitment to guarantee preserving Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem as well.”
Israeli soldiers also raided and shut down the office of the Palestinian Education Ministry in Jerusalem. The closure will be in effect for six months, a notice on the building said. It’s head, Samir Jibril, was detained during the raid.