IDF shutters ‘inciting’ Palestinian media outlet

In overnight raid, transmitters confiscated from Ramallah-based TV station said used by Islamic Jihad

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Illustrative photo of an IDF soldier on March 2, 2015 (IDF spokesperson's office)
Illustrative photo of an IDF soldier on March 2, 2015 (IDF spokesperson's office)

Israel has shut down a Palestinian broadcast station in Ramallah Thursday night for its “inciting broadcasts” and connection with a terrorist organization, the IDF said.

The Shin Bet security agency, flanked by IDF troops and representatives from the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration entered the offices of Palestine al-Yawm — or “Palestine Today” — in the West Bank city of Ramallah and confiscated the TV station’s transmitters and other technical equipment, the army said in a statement on Friday.

Palestine al-Yawm’s owner was also arrested in the raid.

Central Command chief Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa also issued a closure order for Palestine al-Yawm “in light of the inciting broadcasts that have been heard on their radio station,” the IDF said.

“The station is a part of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization and constitutes an illegal association,” the army added.

The outlet broadcasts via radio, television and online “with an emphasis on social media,” the Shin Bet said in its own statement after the raid.

“The station was apparently used by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization as a central instrument in inciting the population of the West Bank, as it called for terror attacks to be carried out against the State of Israel and its residents,” the agency said.

A video shot by some of the station’s employees appears to show the places where equipment had been taken by IDF troops.

The station’s owner, Farouk Omar Kassem Aliat, 34, who lives in the nearby city of Birzeit, was also arrested, though it was not immediately clear on what charges. Aliat has a history of affiliation with Islamic Jihad, and was imprisoned by Israel in the past over links to the terror group.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, 10 other Palestinians were picked up by Israeli forces in overnight arrest raids. Two Ramallah-area residents were arrested for alleged connections with Hamas, while the rest were accused of rock throwing, taking part in violent demonstrations and other forms of “popular terror,” the IDF said.

“The closure of this channel illustrates the many operational efforts being carried out in order to thwart and disrupt activities that incite terror — activities that serve the interests of terror organizations,” the Shin Bet said.

In December, Israeli security forces descended on the offices of two Palestinian publishing houses in the West Bank city of Hebron, confiscating their equipment over accusations that they had printed and distributed propaganda for the Hamas terror group as well as material that incited violence against Israelis.

Israeli leaders have spoken out repeatedly about the threat of incitement in Palestinian media, while Palestinian television programs are cited repeated in Shin Bet interrogations of terrorists as sources of inspiration.

In January, 15-year-old Morad Bader Abdullah Adais, who is accused of the stabbing to death of Israeli mother-of-six Dafna Meir, told interrogators he was influenced by “Palestinian television broadcasts which portrayed Israel as ‘killing young Palestinians,'” the Shin Bet said at the time.

The Thursday night raids came just hours after the security cabinet approved a series of anti-terror measures, including immediate work to seal off gaps in the security fence in the Jerusalem area and to complete construction of the barrier in the area of Tarkumiya, south of the Hebron Hills.

During a meeting of the cabinet committee, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior ministers received updates on the implementation of further measures in the campaign against terror, the PM’s office said in a statement Thursday.

Among the steps on the agenda were fast-tracking legislation to crack down on those employing or assisting Palestinians who illegally enter Israel from the West Bank, shutting down Palestinian media channels which broadcast incitement to terror attacks against Israelis, expanding prosecution against those who incite, the cancellation of work and trade permits held by family members and close acquaintances of terrorists, as well as cutting down the time it takes to demolish the homes of terrorists.

Most Popular
read more: