US, France seek answers after Israel raids TV stations


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli raids on two Palestinian television stations on Wednesday has drawn international concern from media freedom groups and foreign governments who have contributed to the channels.

The US is trying to establish the reason for the raids, US State Dept. spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Thursday. US agencies have funded both Watan TV and Al-Quds Educational TV.

“We are trying to discuss the circumstances with the Israelis and figure out what the basis for this was,” Nuland said. “It seems that there was some kind of a long, brewing dispute, but we don’t have all the details.”

Israeli forces raided the two Palestinian television networks early Wednesday, calling them “pirate” broadcasters.

France on Thursday was urging “the Israeli authorities to return equipment confiscated immediately and allow the resumption of the activity of these two TV stations,” a spokesman said.

“These closures are of concern,” a foreign affairs minister said, because one of the channels had relations with the French government via Canal France International on a program for youth.

Reporters Without Borders, meanwhile, said it was “deeply shocked” by the raids.

“These arbitrary and illegal operations served yet again to intimidate Palestinian media and journalists, the victims of repeated attacks by the Israel Defence Forces,” the group said in a statement.

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