Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestine TV crew in Jerusalem this morning after confiscating their cameras and broadcast equipment.
A producer with Palestine TV Nader Bibars reported that Israeli intelligence officers broke into the film set during the broadcast of “Good Morning Jerusalem” on the Mount of Olives in occupied East Jerusalem.
Eyewitnesses confirmed to Ma’an News Agency that the presenter of the programme, Dana Abu Shamsiya, cameraman, Amir Abed Rabbo, and the guest on the show, Mohammed Abbasi, were all arrested and taken to a police station.
Meanwhile, a filming crew based in the Damascus Gate (Bab Al-Amoud) area, one of the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, was also harassed by Israeli occupation soldiers who detained Palestine TV reporter Christine Rinawi and cameraman Ali Yassin, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
Palestine TV is a local broadcaster funded by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Israeli authorities routinely suppress any PA-supported, or linked, activity in occupied East Jerusalem.
Following the incidents, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the detention of the Palestine TV crew in Jerusalem, describing the arrests as a part of the Israeli government’s scheme to entrench Israeli control over the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy sites.
This is not only an attack against freedom of speech but to Palestinian presence in Jerusalem; it’s part of a larger campaign against any voices showing the reality of Israel’s occupation. We demand the immediate release of the 3 members of Palestine TV crew detained today. pic.twitter.com/iM4KcyzIMg
— Dr. Saeb Erakat الدكتور صائب عريقات (@ErakatSaeb) December 6, 2019
He called on the international community to take action and put pressure on the Israeli government to halt its attacks against the Palestinian people and its violations of press freedoms.
The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) joined in condemning the detention, slamming it as a “crime added to the list of crimes committed against Palestinian media outlets and journalists.”
The incidents come after Israeli soldiers shut down Palestine TV’s office and several other Palestinian institutions last month in the occupied city of Jerusalem after raiding them and confiscating files and surveillance cameras.
A notice was issued by the Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to the PCB, which stated the office will be closed for six months, accusing it of organising activities under the auspices of the PA within Jerusalem.
Israel released the Palestine TV crew hours later and issued them 15 day stop work orders threatening to fine them 2,000 shekels ($576) for every day they violate the order.