THE Palestinian government condemned Israel’s forced closure of eight media offices in the West Bank yesterday.
The offices of production companies PalMedia — Russia Today’s broadcasting provider — and TransMedia were among those targeted by Israel which accuses the stations of inciting terrorism, the Wafa news agency reported.
The Quds TV headquarters in Hebron was also raided and the director of TransMedia’s Hebron office Amer Jabari was arrested, along with his brother Ismail Jabari.
A raid on TransMedia’s Ramallah office provoked protests by residents in which one was wounded by a rubber-coated steel pellet fired by troops.
Palestinian Deputy Information Minister Mahmoud Khalefeh called the closures “a stark violation of the freedom of press in Palestine” aimed at preventing them “from reporting the Israelis’ daily violation of human rights.”
An Israeli army statement said equipment and documents were seized in the raids.
It claimed the firms were closed for promoting “violence and terrorism against Israelis” and sharing material with media owned by the Palestinian Hamas party — with which the ruling Fatah signed a landmark reconciliation deal last week reuniting the West Bank and Gaza.
On Tuesday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office refused to negotiate with a Palestinian government which includes Hamas.
It demanded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas resume a crackdown on the party in the West Bank, and for Hamas to disarm and recognise the Israeli state in historic Palestine.
Mr Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh responded: “Any Israeli remarks will not change the official Palestinian position to move forward with the reconciliation efforts to achieve the hopes and aspirations of our people in ending the division.”