Netanyahu seeks to shut down fledgling Palestinian TV channel

Netanyahu seeks to shut down fledgling Palestinian TV channel
Israeli newspaper says Binyamin Netanyahu, who is also the communications minister, issued an order against Palestine 48 TV hours after its official launch.
2 min read
19 June, 2015

The Israeli prime minister has reportedly acted to shut down a fledgling PA-funded Palestinian television channel aimed at Palestinians in Israel, hours after it was due to officially launch.

Binyamin Netanyahu issued the order on Thursday against Palestine 48, hours after its official launch, according to a report in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Palestine 48's name refers to the Nakba of 1948, and is the first satellite TV channel supervised and funded by the Palestinian Authority. It is affiliated with the official Palestinian television channel Palestine, which focuses on Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories.

Palestine 48 was scheduled to go live on Thursday.

Netanyahu was reported to have told the communications ministry to take any and all action necessary to stop the broadcasts. The ministry was ordered to investigate the legality of the Palestinian Authorities' funding of the station, according to the Yedioth Ahronoth report.

The Palestinian communications minister Riad Hassan was quoted as saying that Netanyahu would only be able to shut the channel if "he comes to Ramallah with his forces and occupies the communications ministry building and destroys our equipment".

"We are acting according to law... We don't have an office or station in Israel, and not even one clerk. If Netanyahu's government is going against us using the law, then it will lose, and if they try by force, then we will have an appropriate response."

Palestine 48 said in response on Thursday that Netanyahu had tried to close down Channel 10, harass Yedioth Aharonot and Al-Midan Theatre. "Now he's trying to close the Palestinian channel, which is supposed to go on the air tomorrow.