Israel detains Palestinian journalists for ‘illegal activity’

Journalists from Palestine TV, the Palestinian Authority's official TV station, pose for a photo soon after being released from detainment by Israeli police in Jerusalem December 6, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 06 December 2019

Israel detains Palestinian journalists for ‘illegal activity’

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the journalists’ detention as ‘part of the Israeli government’s scheme to entrench Israeli control over the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy sites’

JERUSALEM: Israeli police on Friday detained four journalists from Palestine’s official television station in Jerusalem, drawing protest from Palestinians who say their activities in the holy city are increasingly restricted.

The Palestine TV crew was filming a talk show outside of Jerusalem’s walled Old City when Israeli officers detained them and took their equipment, the Authority’s Wafa news service said.

The journalists with the daily “Good Morning Jerusalem” program were held for four hours at a police station in Jerusalem and later released, said Mohammad Barghouti, Palestine TV’s general manager for news.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said: “The journalists were detained in connection with illegal activity by (the) Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem.”

Israel forbids any official activity in Jerusalem by the Western-backed PA, saying it breaches Israel’s sovereignty over the city and violates interim peace agreements.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, as capital of a future state. Israel annexed the area after capturing it in the 1967 Middle East war and says the entire city is its eternal and indivisible capital.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the journalists’ detention as “part of the Israeli government’s scheme to entrench Israeli control over the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy sites.”

In November, Israel ordered the closure of Palestine TV’s Jerusalem office for six months on the grounds that it was planning to stage activities for the PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank adjacent to Jerusalem.

An office of the PA’s Education Ministry in Jerusalem was also given a six-month closure notice in November, which Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said at the time was “part of a firm policy against any attempt by the (PA) to violate our sovereignty in the capital.”

The last round of peace talks between the two sides broke down in 2014. Palestinians have boycotted US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts, partly over his recognition in 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.


Iran backtracks on plan to send flight recorders to Ukraine

Updated 51 min 35 sec ago

Iran backtracks on plan to send flight recorders to Ukraine

  • An Iranian official said “the flight recorders from the Ukrainian Boeing are in Iranian hands and we have no plans to send them out”
  • He said Iran is working to recover the data and cabin recordings, and that it may send the flight recorders to Ukrain or France

TEHRAN: The Iranian official leading the investigation into the Ukrainian jetliner that was accidentally shot down by the Revolutionary Guard appeared to backtrack Sunday on plans to send the flight recorders abroad for analysis, a day after saying they would be sent to Kyiv.
Hassan Rezaeifar was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency as saying “the flight recorders from the Ukrainian Boeing are in Iranian hands and we have no plans to send them out.”
He said Iran is working to recover the data and cabin recordings, and that it may send the flight recorders — commonly known as black boxes — to Ukraine or France. “But as of yet, we have made no decision.”
The same official was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Saturday as saying the recorders would be sent to Ukraine, where French, American and Canadian experts would help analyze them. Iranian officials previously said the black boxes were damaged but are usable.
It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts. Iran may be hesitant to turn over the recorders for fear that more details from the crash — including the harrowing 20 seconds between when the first and second surface-to-air missiles hit the plane — will come to light.
The Guard’s air defenses shot the plane down shortly after it took off from Tehran on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people on board. Hours earlier, the Guard had launched ballistic missiles at US troops in Iraq in response to the US airstrike that killed Iran’s top general in Baghdad. Officials say lower-level officers mistook the plane for a US cruise missile.
Iranian officials initially said the crash was caused by a technical problem and invited countries that lost citizens to help investigate. Three days later, Iran admitted responsibility after Western leaders said there was strong evidence the plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile.
The victims included 57 Canadian citizens as well as 11 Ukrainians, 17 people from Sweden, four Afghans and four British citizens. Most of those killed were Iranians. The other five nations have demanded Iran accept full responsibility and pay compensation to the victims’ families.
The plane was a Boeing 737-800 that was designed and built in the US The plane’s engine was designed by CFM International, a joint company between French group Safran and US group GE Aviation. Investigators from both countries have been invited to take part in the probe.