Ben Gvir signs order to bar PA-backed Voice of Palestine’s operations in Israel
Police arrive at radio station’s Jerusalem bureau to notify workers that they have to close shop; several reporters also summoned for questioning
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir signed an order on Monday barring a Palestinian radio station from operating inside Israel on the grounds that it is backed by the Palestinian Authority.
The order targets the Voice of Palestine, which is based in Ramallah but has offices in East Jerusalem and the northern Israel town of Kafr Kanna. The station is run by the PA’s Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.
Israel Police arrived at the Voice of Palestine’s Jerusalem bureau in the Beit Hanina neighborhood and notified workers that the office had to shut down. Several Jerusalem-based Palestinian reporters were also summoned for questioning by police.
Ben Gvir’s order cites a law prohibiting the PA from carrying out political activities in Israel, which is regularly used by police to shutter Palestinian gatherings, including educational and cultural events loosely linked to Ramallah. The PA’s governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith has been arrested by Israeli authorities nearly a dozen times over the past five years.
“I will not accept and we will not allow incitement and support for terrorism and terrorists, neither by the Palestinian Authority nor by any other body,” Ben Gvir said in a statement, which didn’t specify what content aired by Voice of Palestine he objected to. “The State of Israel is sovereign, and anyone who tries to fight us will find himself on the outside.”
The I’lam Arab Center for Media Freedom blasted the move as a “clear violation of freedom of the press in a country that claims to respect such freedoms.”
“Ben Gvir’s steps will not succeed in concealing the truth,” I’lam’s statement added, saying that the police order was further proof that the new hardline Israeli government was trying to “hide its crimes in various ways.”
Israel has also acted against Palestinian media outlets in the West Bank on the grounds that they incite violence.
In 2016, the IDF shut down the Ramallah office of Palestine al-Yawm, or “Palestine Today.” “The station is a part of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization and constitutes an illegal association,” the army said at the time.