JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—IDF soldiers raided two pirate Palestinian TV stations in Ramallah on Wednesday, confiscating equipment the Communications Ministry said was endangering flights at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Ministry officials, who participated in the raid of the two stations, Watan and Jerusalem Educational, confiscated transmitters and other equipment. Four Watan employees were briefly detained during the raid.
Wednesday’s action was the latest in a series of confiscations of transmitters that disrupted communications at Ben-Gurion. Equipment at a number of private radio and TV stations in Ramallah and elsewhere in the West Bank were previously seized for the same reason. The same two Ramallah stations were raided in 2002.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned the pre-dawn raid in Ramallah, calling it a “flagrant assault on freedom of expression and media.”
Abdel Nasser Najjar, chairman of the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the West Bank, denounced the raid as an “Israeli crime against the Palestinian media.” He said that Israel’s goal is to prevent the truth from reaching the world through the Palestinian media.
Muammar Orabi, director of Watan TV, described the raid as an act of “sabotage.” He said that the confiscation of equipment belonging to the two stations was a severe blow to the Palestinian media.