Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude on Saturday to French President Francois Hollande after the French government shut down a Hamas 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.
After Netanyahu’s request, the Israeli embassy in Paris reported that Al Aksa’s transmission had been cut off from service.
Earlier this week, Israel decided to close Palestinian media outlets, accusing them of incitement.
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.
“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.
Since the start of October 2015, almost 200 Palestinians have been killed, in addition to 30 Israelis, settlers and soldiers.
The current tension situation is ongoing since October first 2015, 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 Duma arson attack which killed a baby and his parents on July, 31.
IOF has been criticized internationally in recent months for its ‘preemptive shootings’ of Palestinians alleged to be holding knives.
In addition several of the incidents in which the IOF has claimed that they were ‘attacked’ have proven to be false.