EU criticizes Israel over Ramallah TV station raids
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EU criticizes Israel over Ramallah TV station raids

A ‘deeply concerned’ Catherine Ashton says incursion jeopardized Palestinian institution-building efforts

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Catherine Ashton with President Shimon Peres earlier this year (photo credit: Courtesy the President's Residence)
Catherine Ashton with President Shimon Peres earlier this year (photo credit: Courtesy the President's Residence)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief criticized the Israeli army Saturday for last week’s raids on two Palestinian TV stations, saying they violated the Oslo peace accords and endangered the progress of Palestinian state building.

“Incursions by Israeli forces into Palestinian cities where the Palestinian Authority, under the Oslo Accords, assumes the powers and responsibilities for internal security and public order is a breach of those accords and puts in jeopardy the internationally recognized success of Palestinian institution building efforts,” a spokesperson for Catherine Ashton said in statement released Saturday.

Last Wednesday morning, the IDF raided two Ramallah-based stations — privately owned Wattan TV and Jerusalem Educational TV, which is affiliated with Al Quds University — because the Communications Ministry claimed the outlets illegally used frequencies that interfered with aircraft communications. During the raid, Israeli troops seized transmission equipment, computers and documents. Station officials slammed the incursion, calling it an “act of repression of the freedom of the media in Palestine and of repression of the popular resistance that we believe in.”

The European Union has in the past cooperated with both stations, Ashton’s spokesperson said, adding that the 1993 Oslo Accords established an Israeli-Palestinian Joint Technical Committee to address any issues arising in the telecommunications field. Ashton, who said she was “deeply concerned” about the incursions, called on Israel and the PA to “use this mechanism to urgently resolve any issues concerning broadcasts by these companies,” the spokesperson said.

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