DUBAI: Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s national security minister, ordered the Voice of Palestine radio station to shut down its Israeli operations on Monday.
Israeli police visited the radio station’s Jerusalem bureau to notify employees that the office had to shut down and summoned several Jerusalem-based Palestinian reporters for questioning, according to news reports.
Ben-Gvir’s order bars Voice of Palestine from operating within Israel but does not stop the station from continuing its work in the West Bank or Gaza.
In the order, Ben-Gvir said, “we will not allow incitement and support for terrorism and terrorists, neither by the Palestinian Authority nor by any other body.”
Israeli authorities should immediately reverse their order to shut down the Israeli operations of the Voice of Palestine radio station and should cease harassing members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement.
Those summoned include Palestinian reporters Layali Eid and Lana Kamela, photographers Yazan Haddad and Walid Kamar, and camera operator Firas Handawi, according to multiple reports.
Amir Abbas, director of the Marcel production company, which works with the Voice of Palestine’s parent company the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) and other outlets, told CPJ that the five journalists had contributed to various local outlets including those operated by the PBC.
Abbas was also summoned by the authorities, who interrogated him for hours.
The Israeli police gave a verbal warning to all five journalists, as well as Abbas, to stop collaborating with the PBC from Jerusalem, and released them without filing any formal charges, Kamar and Abbas told the CPJ.
“Israeli authorities must reverse their order to close the Voice of Palestine’s operations in Israel, which was issued without citing any specific problems with its coverage,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator.
“Palestinian journalists should be able to do their jobs freely, without fear of being interrogated, harassed or obstructed from doing their work.”