Israel Blacklists Palestinian TV Station Amidst Free Speech Crackdown

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“The al-Quds station is a propaganda wing of Hamas, representing a central platform for distributing the terrorist organization’s messages,” the statement said.

 

 

In yet another attempt to oppress the Palestinian people and stifle their voices, Israel has cracked down on the Palestinian press.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman officially designated al-Quds television station as a “terrorist organization,” accusing it of being in cahoots with Hamas.

“According to up-to-date, reliable, cross-checked and diverse intelligence, the al-Quds station is a propaganda wing of Hamas, representing a central platform for distributing the terrorist organization’s messages,” the defense minister’s office stated in a statement.

This new move to blacklist the pro-Palestinian network was proposed by the Israel Security Agency, better known as Shin Bet, and the Defense Ministry in order to combat terrorism with economic tools, said Liberman’s office.

Al-Quds was founded by Palestinian businessmen living in Europe and other Arab countries in 2008. It produces content that focuses on the plight of the beleaguered Palestinians and highlights news relating to Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

Its broadcasts are recorded in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israeli territories and it has offices in the Strip as well as Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Amidst the crackdown, the defense ministry also rounded off reporters and cameramen as well as the staff from a local production company, based in the Arab-majority city of Umm Al-Fahm, which provided services to the network.

The staff from both the companies were summoned and questioned by the police. The press members were told a warrant has been issued and the channel’s broadcasts were now illegal in Israel. They were also warned to cease operations.

Attorney Omar Hamisey, who represents the production house, said the company’s owner refused to admit the channel is illegal. He also said Shin Bet was trying to silence the voices that told Palestinian stories.

Hamisey said the order would not prevent the channel from broadcasting from Gaza, West Bank and anywhere else outside of Israel.

Al-Quds have called the Palestinian Authority to pressure Israel into rescinding the move and said it would continue to “expose the occupation’s crimes.”

The Israeli military has closed a number of TV stations and radio channels operating in the West Bank, citing incitement and ties to terrorist organizations and have been referenced by Shin Bet as inspiration for terrorists.

Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Lior Mizrahi /Getty Images

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