The Ramallah station raid: NRK’s version and Ynetnews version

Hmmm, which one to believe? So difficult, so difficult… Perhaps I should go with the NRK on this one, after all, they got it right on the Jenin “massacre”, which the then reporter Jan Sigurd Sunnanå claimed had cost 1000 Palestinian lives…

Israeli army closed down Palestinian media

Israeli soldiers entered the PA ruled town of Ramallah in the West Bank, raided two television stations and took all their broadcasting equipment

By: Eva Stabell

They arrived at 2 in the morning and took about 30 computers and all the transmitters. They closed the canal, according to Chief Ali Daraghmeh in Watan TV.

The station is privately owned and run by a voluntary organization. It broadcasts local nyheter, cultural and political programs via the Internet.

The second station which was attacked and emptied, was the al-Quds educational TV, which cooperates with the Palestinian Al-Quds University. The Israeli soldiers arrived at 3 AM.

Unable to broadcast
– The Israeli army went into the TV station’s premises and took all the sending device. We are now unable to send, says the boss, Abu Haroun Arra.

The Israeli army said this morning that the stations were closed because they did not have the required permissions to broadcast. However, the Palestinian Minister of Telecommunications denies this.

No one was arrested during the raids.

– One of our guards tried to stop the soldiers, but they told him that they had official permission to close the station, the editor of Watan TV Daraghmeh told Reuters.

Is under Palestinian control
– It came as a surprise, we received no advance warning and did not understand why this happened, says CEO Watan Moammer Orabi.

The TV station is located in the autonomous Palestinian territories, and according to the Oslo Accords, it is the Palestinian security forces who are in control of the area. Ramallah is the administrative center of the Palestinian Authority.

– We work in the Palestinian territories and has license to operate issued by the Palestinian government, Orabi said.

According to a spokesman for the Israeli army raids took place after “numerous calls” from Israel’s Communications Ministry to halt the transmissions from the two TV stations.

– Pirate TV
He calls television stations with the Palestinian licenses pirat-TV.

– The stations broke into the broadcasts of other broadcasting stations and disrupted air traffic communications, the Israeli military spokesman said.

Palestinian Telecommunications Minister Mashour Abu Daqqa denied to AFP that this is true, and says that Israel should have protested through official channels to the Palestinian Authority.

Journalists in the West Bank have announced a protest demonstration against Israel’s closure of the two stations later today.

The age of censorship is over
Previously Israel censored all journalistic material that was sent out of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. But after the Internet this has been impossible.

Since the West Bank came under the civilian Palestinian Authority’s control, the Israelis have controlled the media in the Palestinian territories.

According to international rules the media enjoys a special claim to protection in conflict and war. Attacks on the media is an attack on free speech.

This is the Ynetnews version…

Communication Ministry raids Ramallah TV station

Ministry officials escorted by IDF force raid Ramallah’s al-Watan TV, say it uses unauthorized frequencies thus endangering flight routes.

Elior Levy

Communication Ministry officials raided the al-Watan TV station in Ramallah Wednesday.

The raid was headed by officers at the ministry’s Wireless Supervision Unit. Palestinian sources said that an IDF force accompanied them.

The IDF said that the raid was prompted by the station’s use of unauthorized frequencies, which endanger flight routes over Ben Gurion International Airport.

One of the station’s broadcasters said that the soldiers seized transmission equipment, computers and documents, and detained four of the station’s employees.

Palestinian sources told Ynet that it is unclear who owns al-Watan, which operates both a TV station and a news website.

It is believed that the owners are associates of Mustafa Barghouthi, secretary-general of the National Palestinian Initiative Party, who is considered one of Israel‘s strongest critics in the PA.

Barghouthi denounced the raid, calling it “Israeli piracy.” He said that it violated the Oslo Accords, which prevent Israeli security forces from entering Area A.