Israeli army raids media outlets across West Bank

Israeli forces raided and shut down several Palestinian broadcast companies in the occupied West Bank before dawn on Wednesday.

Eight branch offices belonging to three media companies – PalMedia, Ram Sat and Trans Media – were sealed and two media workers were arrested, according to Addameer, a Palestinian human rights group.

The raided offices, located in the cities of Nablus, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron, were welded shut with notices posted by the Israeli military ordering them closed for six months due to having engaged in “incitement.”

Video apparently recorded by the Israeli army shows soldiers carrying computer equipment, cameras and other hardware out of the Trans Media offices before welding shut its doors:
A military spokesperson told media that Trans Media and PalMedia offices were shuttered for “providing services” to Hamas-affiliated news outlets.

The PalMedia production company, based in Ramallah, provides services to several international media outlets including the BBC, France 24, Al-Quds TV and al-Mayadeen.

The closure of the outlets affects the livelihood of some 100 media workers, Alaa al-Rimawi, a correspondent with Al-Quds TV, told Al Jazeera.

PalMedia was previously raided on grounds of incitement in July, amid widespread Palestinian protest over Israel’s unprecedented closure of al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces attempted to obstruct media coverage of the July protests, injuring several Paletinian journalists, and threatening to shut down Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau.

Both the owner of Trans Media, Amer Muhammad al-Jabari, and its administrative director, Ibrahim al-Jabari, who are brothers, were arrested at their homes during the Wednesday raid.

Addameer said the raids and Israel’s wider campaign against Palestinian journalists “represents nothing more than an attempt to use force against the dissemination of truth.”

Israel has previously raided Palestinian media outlets and arrested journalists, accusing them of incitement.

In late August, the army raided the Minbar al-Hurriya radio station in Hebron, ordering it closed for six months.

The head of the radio station, Ayman al-Qawasmi, was arrested by Palestinian Authority forces days later, after he called on top figures in the PA to resign if they cannot protect Palestinian institutions from such raids.

He was released a few days later.

The Wednesday raids took place in cities ostensibly under Palestinian Authority control.


Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.