Israel shuts down Palestine TV channel in Jerusalem following solidarity with blinded journalist
The offices of Palestine TV - a channel funded by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority - and an office of the Palestinian ministry of education were given orders to close for six months, staff members said on condition of anonymity.
An orphanage school and a mosque in the Old City, as well as a health centre in east Jerusalem, were also raided by Israeli forces who seized their records and surveillance footage, according to local media.
The director of the al-Araz production company that hosts Palestine TV was temporarily detained, while one of its correspondents, Christine Rinawi, was summoned for questioning, Palestinian sources said.
Palestine TV’s news anchors on Sunday appeared on air with eye patches, in a show of solidarity with reporter Muath Amarneh who was hit in the eye by Israeli forces while covering protests near Hebron.
The closure comes just weeks after the Palestinian journalists’ syndicate reported that 2019 had seen a record number of Israeli violations against Palestinian media workers.
Israel's Public Security minister Gilad Erdan confirmed the closure of offices used by Palestine TV and the education ministry.
Israel captured and occupied east Jerusalem in 1967, and considers the entire city its undivided capital.
However Palestinians consider the eastern part of the city the capital of their own future state.
"I will continue to pursue a firm policy against any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to violate our sovereignty in the capital," Erdan said in a statement seeking to justify the closures.
He accused Palestine TV of producing anti-Israeli content in which the country is presented as "responsible for war crimes and ethnic cleansing."
The Palestinians condemned the closures, accusing Israeli authorities of silencing Palestinian media.
"This is a continuation of the Israeli government's campaign against everything Palestinian in occupied Jerusalem," senior official Hanan Ashrawi said.
MADA, a Palestinian organisation that defends freedom of expression, said the closures were "part of Israel's efforts to silence the media and prevent the Palestinian story from spreading, through a series of repressions against the media and journalists."
Israeli forces have committed over 600 violations against Palestinian journalists this year, including shootings, beatings and detention, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said in a report earlier this month.
Agencies contributed to this report.Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay connected