EU’s Ashton says Israeli TV station raids break accords

MAAN NEWS AGENCY MARCH 3 2012

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton warned on Saturday that Israeli raids of two Palestinian television stations breaks international accords, and threatens Palestinians state-building.

Israeli forces raided Watan TV and Al-Quds Educational TV, both in the Ramallah-district, and confiscated broadcasting equipment early Wednesday. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the TV networks were broadcasting illegally, which was disputed by the Palestinian Authority.

Ashton is “deeply concerned” by the raid, a statement said, adding that the incursion into PA-controlled territory is a “breach of (the Oslo) accords and puts in jeopardy the internationally recognized success of Palestinian institution building efforts.”

The 1993 accord — which gave the PA limited jurisdiction over the West Bank — established a joint technical committee to address disagreements over telecommunications, the statement noted.

Ashton “calls on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to use this mechanism to urgently resolve any issues concerning broadcasts by these companies,” it continued.

Both channels have worked with the EU, the statement highlighted. The US, which has funded the channels, is looking into the incident, a State Department spokeswoman on Thursday. France, another partner, urged “the Israeli authorities to return equipment confiscated.”



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