West Bank radio station shut down for ‘incitement’ in overnight Israeli raid by IDF
The IDF have raided Radio al-Khalil (which is Arabic for Hebron) based in the West Bank city of Hebron, seizing their broadcasting equipment and leaving a notice signed by Major General Roni Numa, commanding officer of Central Command, saying that the station was to remain shut down for six months.
“The soldiers came into the station in the morning. More than forty of them. They entered the Hebron radio, disconnected all the equipment and also destroyed and seized equipment. They also took broadcasting items and gave us an order banning us from working for six months because they accuse us of incitement,” Amjad Shawar, the radio station manager, told RT.
The raid was carried out in a joint operation involving the IDF, the Shin Bet security service, and the IDF Civil Administration, the IDF Spokesman’s Unit said on Saturday, according to the Hebrew-language Walla website.
The station has been accused by Israeli authorities of allegedly inciting violence in its broadcasts, which reportedly prompted the shutdown. The radio is very popular in the area and has a strong following.
“The action was taken after broadcasts containing incitement were aired by the station,” the IDF said in the statement.
The radio station “broadcasts lies about the execution of Palestinians and the kidnapping of Palestinians by Israeli security forces; congratulates the families of ‘shahids’ for the death of their children; praises terrorists who committed stabbing and vehicular attacks; and calls for revenge attacks,” the Civil Administration added, as reported by ynetnew.com.
The Israeli government is carrying out check-ups on even its own radio stations, Amir Oren, senior correspondent and columnist for Haaretz told RT.
“Even Israeli broadcasting stations when they are broadcasting material which has to do with the military or with the occupied territories have to send it first to the censor for scrutiny and approval,” he said.
The radio station broadcasts for the local area, including the town of Dura, which is home to the attacker who killed two people in a recent deadly stabbing in Tel-Aviv.
This is not the first Palestinian radio station to be shut down in Israel. The popular Al-Hurriya radio station was also accused of inciting violence in the West Bank and shuttered in March.
The Hebron area has seen a spate of violence recently. It has been subjected to a partial closure which was lifted after several days of calm. The IDF is currently considering whether to re-impose the closure of the area, while a unit of the Israeli Ministry of Defense called the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories has already decided to suspend work permits for thousands of Palestinians.