New York, July 14, 2017--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned Israeli soldiers' raid of the office of Al-Quds TV and that of its affiliate Ram Sat in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The Israeli soldiers burst into Al-Quds TV's office in the early hours of yesterday morning and confiscated memory cards, hard drives, and six computers, Al-Quds TV's Hebron bureau chief, Alaa al-Rimawi, told journalists. The military also raided the office of Ram Sat Media, a production company affiliated with Al-Quds TV, and confiscated all the computers' hard drives, according to news reports. Al-Quds TV is affiliated with Hamas and is frequently critical of the actions of the Israeli government and military.
The Israeli military's North America desk did not immediately respond to CPJ's email requesting comment. An Israeli military spokesperson told journalists that the raid was a part of an investigation into the station's activity on "suspicion of incitement," and that "further steps" would be taken if "incitement material" were found on the confiscated hard disks.
"The Israeli army is not the arbiter of what constitutes journalism or suspected incitement," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "The authorities should return all seized equipment immediately."
Israeli soldiers have targeted the station before. In 2012, an Israeli airstrike targeted the Gaza office of Al-Quds TV, injuring at least nine journalists, according to news reports. Also in 2012, Israeli soldiers assaulted Al-Quds TV's Akram al-Natsha, along with three other journalists, as they were driving to cover the aftermath of a Palestinian teenager's death at the hands of an Israeli border guard, according to media reports.