Press Release March 7 2012
PCHR Condemns IOF’s Raids on Watan TV and Al-Quds TV and Confiscation of Their Equipment
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns storming Watan TV and Al-Quds Educational TV in Ramallah and al-Bireh by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and the confiscation of their transmitters, computers, filed and recording taps. The two television stations have stopped broadcasting. PCHR expresses utmost concern over this attack which aims at silencing the press that reports on Israeli crimes and grave breaches of international law.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 02:00 on Wednesday, 29 February 2012, IOF stormed the fourth and fifth floors of the building of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees in Qaddoura refugee camp in the central of Ramallah, where officers of Watan TV are located. At the time of this raid, 4 staff members were in their office: Abdul Rahman As’ad Dhaher, Production Manager; Ahmed Zaki, Transmission Supervisor; Hamza Salaima, Reporte; and Ibrahim Melhem. Dhaher and Melhem were on the fourth floor of the building about to leave it, when they were surprised by the presence of 7 Israeli soldiers at the entrance of the floor. The Israeli soldiers stopped them and ordered them to sit down and not move. The soldiers, lead by a fluently-Arabic-speaking officer, broke into the place without presenting any search warrant or giving any explanation. On the fifth floor, Zaki and Salaima heard sounds of shooting in the area, and they thought that IOF had moved into the refugee camp so decided to get out of the building to report on such incursion. As soon as they arrived at the entrance of the floor, they found a number of Israeli soldiers. Salaima filmed the soldiers, but the Israeli officer ordered him to turn off the camera and give him the video tape. During this raid, Israeli soldiers searched each office and confiscated the major transmitter of the station, computers, filed and recording tapes.
At approximately 03:30 on the same day, Israeli soldiers stormed offices of Al-Quds Educational TV in al-Quds Streets in al-Bireh. A number of soldiers climbed the fence surrounding the building and jumped into the yard. They used some tools in an attempt to break the lock of the main entrance of the building. When the guard heard violent knocking on the door, he showed up to ensure that the soldiers would not break the door. Nevertheless, he was surprised to find that Israeli soldiers had broken the door of the internet room. They confiscated the major transmitter and left the building. It should be noted that the building of Al-Quds Educational TV is comprised of 3 floors, and belongs to al-Quds University.
PCHR reiterates condemnation of the raids on Watan TV and Al-Quds TV, and:
1. Emphasizes that these systematic attacks are aimed to prevent the mass media from reporting on crimes committed by IOF against Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory;
2. Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to immediately intervene and provide protection to the Palestinian people and their property; and
3. Calls upon all international press associations and bodies to continue to follow up attacks against journalists in the occupied Palestinian Territory, and make all possible efforts to ensure pressuring the Israeli government to stop crimes against Palestinian civilians and their property, especially those committed against journalists.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
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