TEL AVIV – Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan signed an order shutting down the Palestinian Musawa TV channel, which is funded by the Palestinian Authority and operates without a license from within the State of Israel.
“I will not allow any attack on the State of Israel’s sovereignty or a Palestinian Authority foothold inside of the country,” Erdan (Likud) said.
Musawa’s programs are recorded in the northern city of Nazareth and then sent to Ramallah to undergo editing.
Erdan signed an order to close the channel Palestine 48 in 2015. However, police and the Shin Bet security agency then received information that the channel had resumed activities under the same director but with the new name of Musawa.
The TV channel was working under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority but did not have the required permits to operate in Israel. The channel ceased broadcasts on Friday after receiving the order, which is valid for the next six months.
The Nazareth-based I’lam Arab Center for Media said Erdan’s move came as a surprise since Musawa had already been operating for half a year with no word from the government, Haaretz reported.
“This decision by the minister is a direct continuation of prior decisions designed to harm Palestinian media institutions and to violate the rights of Palestinian journalists,” a statement from I’lam read.
Joint List Knesset member Yousef Jabareen also said the move was punitive.
“Minister Erdan is acting like a military governor, and working non-stop to silence people and suppress freedom of expression. This step is another vengeful step produced by the extreme right-wing government,” the Arab Knesset member said.