JERUSALEM: Israeli forces raided the West Bank offices of Palestine Today television overnight and arrested its manager over allegations of inciting violence, Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency said on Friday.
The operation targeting the station’s Ramallah offices was the latest attempt to silence Palestinian broadcasters Israel believes are fuelling a five-month wave of violence.
The Shin Bet charged that the channel “broadcasts on behalf of the Islamic Jihad” militant group and said it had closed it in a joint operation with the army.
“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,” it said in a statement.
Israeli forces also arrested Palestine Today manager, Farooq Aliat, 34, of Bir Zeit, north of Ramallah, “an Islamic Jihad operative who had been imprisoned in Israel for his activities,” it added.
The channel continues to broadcast from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. A wave of violence has killed 188 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese since October 1, according to an AFP count.
Most of the Palestinians were killed while carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, Israeli authorities say. Others were shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes or demonstrations.
Many analysts say Palestinian frustration with Israeli occupation and settlement building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have fed the unrest.
Israel blames incitement by Palestinian leaders and media as a main cause of the violence. In November, Israel shut down two radio stations in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron — Al-Hurria and Al-Khalil — accusing them of fanning the violence.