Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude, on Saturday, to French President Francois Hollande, after the French government shut down a Hamas-affiliated television station that, according to the Israeli media, “aired content which constituted anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement.”Netanyahu had earlier urged Hollande to end the transmission of Al Aksa television, the Hamas-run channel that was being broadcast on the French satellite service EUTELSAT — also associated with Palestine Today TV, which was shut down in the occupied West Bank, on Friday.
According to the PNN, Israel’s Shin Bet internal spy agency said in a statement, on Friday, that the Ramallah offices were raided overnight, in a joint operation with the military over allegations that the channel “broadcasts on behalf of the Islamic Jihad,” a Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement.
“The channel served the Islamic Jihad as a central means to incite the West Bank population, calling for terror attacks against Israel and its citizens. Incitement was broadcast on the television station as well as the Internet,” Shin Bet added.
Palestinian officials have denounced Israel’s closure of the offices. Yousef al-Mahmoud, Palestinian Authority spokesman, described the Israeli raid on Palestine Today TV station in Ramallah as “part of the aggressive occupation policy towards Palestinian media.
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, also denounced the Israeli raid, saying it contravenes free speech rules.
The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate made an official statement, as well.
“Incursions into areas under the Palestinian Authority’s control and attacking its sovereignty and media institution [are] a stark violation of basic human rights and international and humanitarian laws that have safeguarded freedom of speech,” she said.
Last November, Israeli soldiers broke into the headquarters of Al-Hurriyya Media Network, destroyed the offices, confiscated the tools and threatened to demolish the entire building if the network works again, accusing it of “inciting” Palestinians against the Israeli occupation.
The month previous, in October, Israeli soldiers raided the offices of the International Middle East Media Center and the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement.
Since the start of October 2015, almost 200 Palestinians have been killed, in addition to 30 Israelis, settlers and soldiers.
The current tension is ongoing since October, due to repetitive Israeli settler attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest place in Islam, and Israeli restrictions over Palestinian entrance, in addition to the Douma arson attack which killed a baby and his parents on July 31.
Israeli forces have been criticized internationally, over recent months, for its ‘preemptive shootings’ of Palestinians alleged to be holding knives.
In addition several of the incidents in which the military has claimed that they were ‘attacked’ have proven to be false.