Media raid: 'The scale of the Israeli reaction to kidnap is out of proportion’
On June 21 the Israeli Defense Forces raided the building of the broadcast services provider Palmedia in the West Bank city of Ramallah, breaking down doors, destroying equipment and confiscating records of various news agencies with offices there. RT Arabic was among those attacked and whose materials and archives were seized. The Israeli Army issued a statement claiming that the IDF checked only the Al-Quds’ office, which is the “mouthpiece of the terror organization and regularly is used to encourage recruitment, terror acts and fundraising for Hamas”, however, it was left untouched. Whereas RT Arabic asked for an explanation but no response has been received.
RT:If RT has never been a target of the IDF, why has Israel confiscated the channel's equipment?
Gideon Levy: That’s a very good question that should be referred to the authorities. I think that this operation went out of proportion a long time ago, and the raid on the RT office is just an example of a very wide-scale operation which has nothing to do with the fate of the three kidnapped youngsters. Israel takes advantage and is trying again, not for the first time, to smash Hamas and anything which smells Hamas or looks like Hamas, or is connected directly or indirectly with Hamas, is becoming a victim of brutal searching and confiscating. Even your office is one of their victims. I can just say that as an Israeli journalist I’m ashamed that the Israeli Army is doing these things against the media.
RT:Israel has already arrested hundreds of Palestinian suspects. How could a media raid help catch the kidnappers?
GL: I think the Israelis are just taking the advantage. Hamas, I’m not sure, did deny their involvement but I have no proof whatsoever until now, that connects Hamas to this operation. In any case the scale of the Israeli reaction is out of proportion. You can ask those questions about thousands and ten thousands of civilians who have nothing to do with this kidnap, whose life was turned upside-down in the last days and nights, which cannot get to offices, schools, who are victims of invasions at night. [It's a] really terrible routine now.
RT:Do you think that eventually Israel will see a backlash from Hamas for this crackdown?
GL: The future depends a lot on the success or failure in finding those three youngsters. Once they are found alive or dead, then there will be maybe more light on the organization which stands behind it. Until now it’s not very clear, the identity of the organization. I think once they are found this operation will come to its end because this is an operation without any realistic goal.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.