Israeli soldiers raided two Palestinian television stations in the occupied West Bank today, seizing transmitters the military said were interfering with air traffic communications. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad visited one of the stations, Watan TV in Ramallah, and said the Israeli operation was “oppressive and monstrous” and violated “all international laws”.
The Israeli military said Watan TV and Alquds educational television, which is also based in Ramallah, had been asked repeatedly by Israel to stop using frequencies that cut into Israeli wireless communications and air traffic control bands. “Soldiers accompanied Communications Ministry officials to the pirate stations … a number of transmitters were seized,” a military spokesman said.
Ahmed Milhem, a Watan TV employee, said the station, owned by local non-governmental organisations, broadcasts news and cultural and political programmes. He said the raid lasted some three hours. “They seized computers, broadcast equipment and administrative files,” Milhem told Reuters by telephone. “The station is now off the air.”
Alquds television said it expected to receive replacement equipment later in the day and begin broadcasting again.