Israel carries out raids on Palestinian media firms

Palestinians look at a sealed door of a media company in the West Bank city of Hebron. (Mahmoud Illean, AP)
Palestinians look at a sealed door of a media company in the West Bank city of Hebron. (Mahmoud Illean, AP)

Hebron - Israeli forces have raided Palestinian media offices across the occupied West Bank in what a military spokesperson on Wednesday called a "large-scale operation" against incitement.

The raids on eight companies came hours after the Israeli government declared that it would not deal with an emerging Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas unless the Islamist group made radical changes.

Constant incitement

Israeli officials said the raids targeted companies that provide services to Hamas television stations. Notices were posted saying the companies were to be closed for six months.

"Israeli army forces last night raided eight Palestinian production and media companies that provide services to Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds TV channels," the head of an Israeli defence ministry unit known as COGAT, Yoav Mordechai, wrote on Facebook, referring to Hamas channels.

"These two channels broadcast constant incitement against the state of Israel. It is no secret that these two channels inspired, several times, terrorists to go out and commit terrorist attacks against innocents".

Israeli officials provided no specific examples of the alleged incitement. At least one of the companies targeted provides various services to a range of local and international news media.

The Palestinian Authority said it condemned the raids "in the strongest terms.

"Occupation forces committed a blatant aggression and gross violation of all international laws when they stormed Palestinian cities and raided media offices,"  said government spokesperson Yusef al-Mahmoud.

Unity deal

He said the measures were a "clear challenge to the international efforts, especially the American efforts, to seek an opportunity for compromise and lay the foundations for peace and security with the agreement of all sides".

US President Donald Trump has been seeking ways to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Last week, rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas signed a landmark unity deal aimed at ending a decade-long split.

Israel said earlier that it would not negotiate with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas if the Islamist movement does not disarm, recognise the country and renounce violence.


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