By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC. The Israeli military targeted on Wednesday Watan TV, a local Palestinian television station broadcasting from the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
“Around 2 am a large military force surrounded the station building and stormed our offices; at first we thought they are coming to conduct arrests at the nearby Al Amariy refugee camp.” Hamza al Salaymah, Watan TV reporter, told IMEMC.
The army detained al Salaymah along with Production manager, Abed Al Rahman Al Daher, Graphics designer Ibrajem Milhim, Cameraman Ahamd Zaki and the night gourd Saleh Baker. The four men were detained until the army left the area.
“They took our broadcast equipment, computers, and financial statements and documents; they forced us to go off-air” al Salaymah added.
Watan TV is a local media company that has an online news service and offer press conferences services in Ramallah a city that is under total Palestinian Authority control. The station went on-air 15 years ago.This is the second time the TV is attacked by the military. The first time was back in 2002.
The Israeli military said that Watan was using unauthorized frequencies, which cause a risk on flights in route to Ben Gurion International Airport.
“We have all needed permissions from the Palestinian Authority, and we bought licenses of our frequencies from the Palestinian Telecommunication Authority, we have all the needed documents proving it” al Salaymah explained.
The Palestinian Ministry of Information issued a Press statement condemning the attack by the Israeli military on WatanTV. The Ministry considered the attack an “act of piracy” and “terrorism on media” in addition to being “clear violation of freedom of speech” that is guaranteed by international law.
The Ministry of Information asked the International Journalist Union to intervene to protect the Palestinian journalists and media associations as well as demanded that the army return all the stolen equipment.