Israel closes Palestinian organisations in Jerusalem

Palestinian employees of Palestine TV channel inspect a notice of closure at the door of the station's office after it has been raided by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem on November 20, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2019

Israel closes Palestinian organisations in Jerusalem

  • The offices of Palestine TV and an office of the Palestinian ministry of education were given orders to close
  • Israel's Public Security minister Gilad Erdan confirmed the closure of offices

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities closed several Palestinian organisations in Jerusalem Wednesday, including a television channel, an Israeli minister and officials from the organisations said.
The offices of Palestine TV -- a channel funded by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority -- and an office of the Palestinian ministry of education were given orders to close for six months, staff members said on condition of anonymity.
The director of the al-Araz production company that hosts Palestine TV was temporarily arrested, while a correspondent for the channel was summoned for questioning, these Palestinian sources said.
Israel's Public Security minister Gilad Erdan confirmed the closure of offices used by Palestine TV and the education ministry.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in a 1967 war and considers the entire city its undivided capital.
The Palestinians consider the eastern part of the city the capital of their own future state.
"I will continue to pursue a firm policy against any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to violate our sovereignty in the capital," Erdan said in a statement seeking to justify the closures.
He accused Palestine TV of producing anti-Israeli content in which the country is presented as "responsible for war crimes and ethnic cleansing."
The Palestinians condemned the closures.
"This is a continuation of the Israeli government's campaign against everything Palestinian in occupied Jerusalem," senior official Hanan Ashrawi said.
MADA, a Palestinian organisation that defends freedom of expression, said the closures were "part of Israel's efforts to silence the media and prevent the Palestinian story from spreading, through a series of repressions against the media and journalists."


Israeli defence chief says he's preparing for consequences of West Bank annexations

Updated 01 June 2020

Israeli defence chief says he's preparing for consequences of West Bank annexations

  • Gantz said he ordered the military to step up preparations for Israel's pending annexation of parts of the West Bank
  • Netanyahu has pledged to begin cabinet discussions on July 1 on the plan

JERUSALEM: Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday he ordered the military to step up preparations for Israel's pending annexation of parts of the West Bank, a plan that could stoke Palestinian violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to begin cabinet discussions on July 1 on extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, occupied territory that Palestinians seek for a state.
Gantz's directive appeared to indicate that the centrist politician had either signed on to the move, or at least believed it would be inevitable, given right-wing support in the Netanyahu-led coalition cabinet.
In public remarks to legislators of his centrist Blue and White party, Gantz noted a recent uptick in anti-Israeli violence in the West Bank and the Palestinians' declaration last month that they were ending security cooperation with Israel over the annexation issue.
He said he had subsequently ordered the chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kochavi, to "examine all the ramifications and the required preparations" stemming from moving ahead with the peace plan US President Donald Trump announced in January, a blueprint that could ease annexation.
In a separate written statement, Gantz said "preparations by the Israel Defence Forces should be stepped up ahead of pending diplomatic moves regarding the Palestinians".
The Palestinians have rejected Trump's proposal, under which the vast majority of West Bank settlements built by Israel on land captured in the 1967 Middle East war would be incorporated into "contiguous Israeli territory".
The Palestinians and most countries consider such settlements illegal. Israel disputes this.
The Trump plan also envisages a Palestinian state under near-complete Israeli security control, creating what Palestinians leaders say would be an unviable country.
Sami Abu Zuhri, an official with militant group Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip, another part of Palestinians' hoped-for future state, told Reuters: "The call of the occupation army to get ready for annexation of the West Bank is a call for war, and the occupation will regret this crime, and soon realise they are committing a grave mistake."