Israeli soldiers raid media offices in Ramallah over alleged 'incitement'

Israeli soldiers raid media offices in Ramallah over alleged 'incitement'
Israeli soldiers conducted dawn raids on the offices of PalMedia, local media reported, on the grounds of alleged "incitement", as al-Aqsa tensions continue.
2 min read
29 July, 2017
Israeli soldiers raided the headquarters of PalMedia early Saturday [Getty]
Israeli military carried out dawn raids at the headquarters of PalMedia in Ramallah on Saturday, seizing equipment from offices of satellite channels provided by the company, local media has reported.

Media sources told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli forces raided the West Bank headquarters, which provides broadcast services to several media outlets, including Russia Today (RT), al-Mayadin, al-Manar, and al-Quds news.

Israeli soldiers searched and damaged properties in these offices on the grounds of alleged "incitement", according to the sources.

The director of al-Quds Alaa Rimawi told The New Arab that soldiers confiscated six data storage devices.

A reporter from RT, which also has an office in the building, said that Israeli soldiers destroyed some of the doors to the media outlets' offices in order to get inside, Ma'an reported.

However, no equipment was confiscated from RT's office during the raid.

Witnesses told Ma'an that 10 Israeli army vehicles had surrounded the building in Ramallah before the raid began.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that Israeli forces had "seized media equipment and documents used for incitement" from a media office in Ramallah - however, the spokesperson could not specify which office the items had been confiscated from.

She added the raid was part of "ongoing efforts against incitement" in the West Bank. Although the spokesperson was unable to provide details on what equipment was seized, she said the documents confiscated included "inciting pictures".

Clashes also broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians following the raid, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported, with Palestinians throwing rocks at the Israeli army vehicles as they left the area.

PalMedia was previously raided in June 2014 on grounds of alleged "incitement".

Following the raid three years ago, Reporters Without Borders said that the raid had "joined the long list of violations of Palestinian news media rights by the Israeli security forces, with never-ending threats, arrests and military operations".

The raid on Saturday follows two weeks of protests led by Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem after Israel installed metal detectors at the gates of al-Aqsa mosque, and subsequently banned Palestinians under the age of 50 from entering the holy site.

On Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed to expel Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, claiming the network is "inciting" violence as tensions have escalated, and said he would push through laws to close the channel's offices in Israel.