RT provider shut down amid Israeli raids & closure of Palestinian media
Eight Palestinian media organizations, which Israel suspects of distributing and broadcasting materials inciting terrorism, were raided in a joint operation of the IDF, the Israel Security Agency security (Shin Bet) and Civil Administration operating in the West Bank on Tuesday night.
The military also closed broadcasting stations including Pal Media, one of the biggest Palestinian companies providing services to RT, as well as many other media outlets operating in the region such as TransMedia, the BBC, France 24 and the Lebanese Al Mayadeen.
The Israeli forces sealed off Pal Media’s office at dawn, confiscating all equipment and materials, according to RT correspondent on the ground Yafa Staty. An IDF official told the correspondent that the closure is aimed at the Al-Quds, Al-Aqsa and Palestine Today channels.
Israel said in a statement that they seized equipment and documents of companies Al-Aqsa and Al Quds TV channels, which were providing services to Hamas considered illegal by the IDF Central Command.
“The Israel Defense Forces closed this Pal Media office after it was found out that it had contributed to and broadcasted calls and incitement to terrorist acts which undermine security,” the IDF statement pinned on the office door says.
The broadcasting stations’ shutdown led to clashes between the military and locals in Ramallah and Nablus, in which some Palestinians were injured, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa. In Ramallah a man was wounded by “an Israeli rubber-coated steel round,” Wafa says.
Wafa reports that Amer Jabari, the director of the TransMedia office in Hebron, and his brother, cameraman Ismail Jabari, were arrested.
“The operation is part of the expanded counterrorism effort, in which the security forces operate against all elements of terrorism including incitement,” the IDF said, adding that the security forces will continue their efforts against it.
Palestine has denounced the Israeli forces’ “aggression” against the media headquarters in the West Bank. The autonomy’s foreign ministry called the actions “piracy” used by “occupants to hide their daily crimes and attacks on our people, as well as a failed attempt to intimidate the media and impede them from exposing the crimes.”
Pal Media and RT offices have already fallen victim to the Israeli forces’ raids. In 2014, they broke into the Ramallah office and seized hardware and videotapes as well as breaking a computer and office furniture. In June 2017, Israeli military raided Pal Media’s headquarters in the city, targeting the Palestinian Al-Quds channel.
Israel has previously raided TransMedia, which runs several offices across the country, including two offices in Jerusalem, the area disputed by Palestinians and Israelis, and an office in Hebron in the West bank. In March 2016 their office in Ramallah was ransacked during an operation against the Palestine Today TV station accused of incitement on behalf of “Islamic Jihad.”