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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Israeli authorities restrict Voice of Palestine radio’s operations, question 5 journalists

Tuesday , 21 March 2023
Photo credit: Reuters/Abir Sultan

On Monday, March 20, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir ordered Voice of Palestine, the official broadcaster of the Palestinian Authority government, to be barred from operating within Israel, according to multiple news reports. After the order was issued, Israeli police officers arrived at the company’s offices in East Jerusalem and informed the staff about the ban, those reports said.

Later Monday, Israeli police summoned five Palestinian journalists based in East Jerusalem for questioning, according to news reports and journalists who spoke to CPJ.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Middle East war. Its subsequent annexation of that part of the city is not recognized internationally.


Ben-Gvir’s order bars Voice of Palestine from operating within Israel but does not stop the outlet from continuing its work in the West Bank or Gaza, according to those news reports. In his decree, Ben-Gvir did not specify any specific reason for blocking the station, but said “we will not allow incitement and support for terrorism and terrorists, neither by the Palestinian Authority nor by any other body.”

Later on Monday, Israeli police in East Jerusalem summoned Palestinian reporters Layali Eid and Lana Kamela, photographers Yazan Haddad and Walid Kamar, and camera operator Firas Handawi, according to news reportssocial media posts, and Kamar, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app.

Amir Abbas, director of the Marcel production company, which works with the Voice of Palestine’s parent company the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation among other outlets, told CPJ by phone that the five journalists had contributed to various local outlets including those operated by the PBC.

Kamar told CPJ that police interrogated him about his work with the PBC. He and Abbas said that police gave all five journalists a verbal warning to cease collaborating with the PBC from Jerusalem, and then released them without filing any formal charges. Abbas said authorities also summoned him, interrogated him for hours, and gave him a similar warning.

Israeli authorities closed the PBC’s Jerusalem office in 2018, according to news reports.

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