Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan orders Musawa, a Ramallah-based television station catering to Israel’s Arab citizens, to be shut down for violating Israeli sovereignty.
By Makbula Nassar
For the second time in a year, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has ordered the closure of a Palestinian media outlet.
The satellite station in question, Musawa, was originally launched in March 2015 under the name “Palestine 48,” is broadcasted through the Egyptian satellite company “Nile-Sat,” and receives its funding from the Palestinian Authority. Its broadcasts are based in Ramallah and are catered for Arab citizens of Israel. Today most of its content is produced by Arab producers based in Israel.
Last Thursday the Public Security Ministry announced that the closure order would be signed after it became clear that the station functions on behalf of the Palestinian Authority inside Israeli territory without the proper written permit, as is required by the Oslo Accords. “I will not allow any harm to come to Israeli sovereignty or allow the Palestinian Authority to make a foothold inside state territory,” Erdan said in a statement. The order will remain in effect for six months.
Although Erdan already signed an order to close the station in July 2015, its activities did not actually cease: regular broadcasts continued and talk shows were broadcasted live from Ramallah, all while the guests traveled to PA territory on a regular basis to talk about issues pertinent to Arabs living in Israel. Several months ago the station returned to its studios in Nazareth, using local producers, after it changed its name and branding so as to avoid confrontations with the Israeli authorities.
Ramzi Hakim, a senior news anchor for the station who also works for the Al-Arz production company (which was also shut down by the Public Security Ministry), told +972′s Hebrew sister site, Local Call, that Erdan’s decision has “no legal basis.” According to Hakim, the studios and production services in Nazareth are owned and run by Al-Arz, which provides services to a number of stations in the area and the world, including Musawa. Hakim emphasizes that they are currently continuing as usual.
The language used by the Public Security Ministry hints at the fact that the decision to shut down the station is based on updated intelligence. Yet the fact of the matter is that production, which started anew in Nazareth over the past few months, is not so...Read More