Israeli forces during predawn raids on Friday ordered the closure of Falastin al-Yawm (Palestine Today) and TransMedia Production Company in the occupied West Bank hub of Ramallah.Palestine Today is indeed an Islamic Jihad newspaper; I've been reading it for many years. From a journalistic perspective it is one of the better Palestinian Arab media outlets although the quality went down in the past year as funds from Iran dried up and they had to make some budget cuts.
Locals told Ma’an that forces stormed the media outlets’ headquarters in al-Bireh and detained two journalists, confiscated property, and delivered military orders for the offices to be shut down.
The journalists were identified as Muhammad Amro from Hebron and Shbeib Shbeib from Burqa near Nablus. Both were taken to the Israeli miltiary base in the nearby illegal settlement of Beit El.
Israeli forces also detained head of the Falastin al-Yawm Faruq Elayyat from his home in Birzeit, a town near Ramallah.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an the closure order was issued against the media outlets owner for “incitement,” adding that the station was “associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, an illegal terror organization.”
The raid was carried out through a joint operation between the Israeli military and Israel’s security agency Shin Bet, the spokesperson said, confirming that technical equipment and broadcast equipment had been confiscated.
The spokesperson was unable to confirm if the closure was permanent or temporary.
So why was this done now?
According to Palestine Today itself, the reason given was because the paper encouraged the current wave of terror attacks. It prominently features this graphic on its homepage:
The hashtag is "#Alquds_Intifada."
It has created featured graphics like that during every flareup of hostilities for years, but in this case an argument could be made that it is directly encouraging killing Jews. The hashtag is a call to action.
Islamic Jihad itself has a "media war" division that runs its media empire.This includes the Saraya.ps website for the Al Quds Brigades, which often shares articles with Palestine Today. The purpose of the division is indicated by its name - to use the media as a means to wage war on Israel.
Saeb Erekat of course chose to defend the newspaper that is owned and controlled by a terrorist organization. Suddenly he is an advocate for free speech even though the PLO has arrested journalists that it didn't like plenty of times.
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