Israrel shut downs Palestinian organizations in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli authorities closed several Palestinian organisations in Jerusalem Wednesday, including a television channel, an Israeli minister and officials from the organisations said.

The offices of Palestine TV — a channel funded by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority — and an office of the Palestinian ministry of education were given orders to close for six months, staff members said on condition of anonymity.

The director of the al-Araz production company that hosts Palestine TV was temporarily arrested, while a correspondent for the channel was summoned for questioning, these Palestinian sources said. Israel’s Public Security minister Gilad Erdan confirmed the closure of offices used by Palestine TV and the education ministry.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in a 1967 war and considers the entire city its undivided capital.The Palestinians consider the eastern part of the city the capital of their own future state.

“I will continue to pursue a firm policy against any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to violate our sovereignty in the capital,” Erdan said in a statement seeking to justify the closures.

He accused Palestine TV of producing anti-Israeli content in which the country is presented as “responsible for war crimes and ethnic cleansing”.The Palestinians condemned the closures.

“This is a continuation of the Israeli government s campaign against everything Palestinian in occupied Jerusalem,” senior official Hanan Ashrawi said.

MADA, a Palestinian organisation that defends freedom of expression, said the closures were “part of Israel s efforts to silence the media and prevent the Palestinian story from spreading, through a series of repressions against the media and journalists”.

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