‘An attempt to drown out Palestinian voices’: RT’s office building raided in Ramallah

(VIDEO)

'An attempt to drown out Palestinian voices': RT’s office building raided in Ramallah (VIDEO)
The Israeli military raided the PalMedia building in Ramallah on the West Bank early Saturday morning. It is home to a number of international media organizations, including RT’s regional office. Property belonging to other media channels was either damaged or seized.

No RT employees were harmed during the raid on the PalMedia building which also houses the offices of Al-Quds, Al-Mayadeen, France 24 and Al-Manar.

Witnesses told the Ma’an News Agency that 10 Israeli army vehicles had surrounded the building before carrying out the search.

Several doors and editing rooms were damaged while some computers and other property were taken away.

READ MORE: Israeli news anchor fights back tears announcing shutdown of historic channel (VIDEO)

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces had “seized media equipment and documents used for incitement” from a media office in Ramallah, though did not say which agency they were specifically targeting.

The satellite channel Al-Quds said the search was directed at them.

The Palestinian Union of Journalists condemned the raid, which it said had led to “the destruction of property and the theft of equipment, computers and archival materials belonging to the satellite channel Al-Quds,” adding, that it was “an obvious attempt to drown out the voice of the Palestinians and make the Palestinian narrative invisible.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Information also released a statement denouncing the raid, saying, that targeting the media “proves Israel’s intentions to prevent the guardians of truth from continuing their media, national, and ethical role of transferring the message of our people’s desired freedom.”

This is not the first time Israeli authorities have mounted a search of the building, having done so in June 2014. At the time, Reporters Without Borders said the raid “joined the long list of violations of Palestinian news media rights by the Israeli security forces, with never-ending threats, arrests and military operations.”

RT’s offices in the Gaza Strip were also hit by an airstrike during Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. Though the building was severely damaged, none of RT’s employees were hurt.


Israeli minister threatens to destroy Syrian air defenses

Israeli minister threatens to destroy Syrian air defenses
The Israeli defense minister threatened to destroy Syrian air defenses after they shot at Israeli warplanes, which violated Syrian airspace and bombed targets on Syrian soil.

“Next time, if the Syrian aerial defense apparatus acts against our planes, we will destroy it,” Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli Public Radio on Sunday. “We won’t hesitate. Israel’s security is above everything else; there will be no compromise.”

He was referring to the Friday morning raid of the Israeli Air Force, the latest of several reported over the past few years, in which Israel claimed it targeted weapons bound for the Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah. Israel says it has to protect itself from advanced weapons which the militants try to obtain from the Syrian government.

Syria shot surface-to-air S-200 missiles at the Israeli planes as they were flying back from the night mission. Damascus claims it shot down one of the planes, while Israel denies it.

The Israeli media said one of the Syrian missiles was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow air defense system. It was the first time Israel officials have confirmed combat use of the advanced anti-missiles, which are originally meant to intercept heavy long-range ballistic missiles.

The Israeli military is investigating whether the decision to fire Arrow interceptors against the Syrian anti-aircraft missiles was justified, according to Haaretz.

The former prime minister and defense minister, Ehud Barak, said Saturday that the involvement of the system forced Israel to acknowledge cross-border military activity.

“It could be that with more thorough thought, it wasn’t worth firing,” Barak said at a community lecture in Be’er Sheva.

“We have usually tended to reserve what would be called ‘room for denial’ for Syrian President [Bashar] Assad,” he added.

While Israeli acknowledgment of an intervention in Syria is rare, it is not unprecedented. Last April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed for the first time that an attack on dozens of Hezbollah targets in Syria was indeed conducted by Israeli warplanes, as speculated by the media.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s