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“MADA”: Israel’s destruction of Al-Aqsa TV Headquarters is a result of the impunity of perpetrators of crimes against media freedoms

Ramallah – (13 Nov. 2018) – The Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms “MADA” condemns the destruction of Al-Aqsa TV Headquarters, on Monday evening, corresponding 12 Nov. 2018, by the Israeli Occupation Army, in implementation of the resolution taken by the senior officials and politicians at the Israeli Government as various data indicates.

 

Al-Aqsa TV Headquarters was destroyed in Gaza by the Israeli Warplanes, about half an hour after the end of a security meeting held by the Israeli leadership with the participation of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in “Kiryah” Military Base near Tel Aviv. This was followed by announcements reported by the Israeli media that “the go-head was given to the Israeli army to carry out more severe attacks” on Gaza.

 

Al-Aqsa TV Director, Mr. Ibrahim Thaher, stated to MADA that the TV Office has received a phone call from the Israeli Intelligence in which it was informed that the headquarters will be destroyed. Accordingly, the headquarters was evacuated from the staff immediately. Ten minutes later, the drones began bombarding the headquarters with “warning” missiles, which was followed by missile fired by F16 warplane, which led to the destruction of the headquarters and the interruption of transmission.

 

According to explorations of MADA field researcher, at approximately 8:30 PM, on Monday, corresponding 12 Nov. 2018, Al-Aqsa TV received an Israeli threat to bomb it. The TV staff quickly evacuated the headquarters and left. About half an hour later, at 9:00 PM, unmanned aerial vehicle (drones) began bombing the headquarters, where they fired five “warning” missile intermittently. At approximately 09:15, a missile fired by F-16 warplane destroyed the headquarters, which led to its destruction and transmission interruption. However, the Israeli warplane returned and bombed the headquarters with another missile several minutes later, causing extensive destruction. Many houses and buildings, adjacent to the headquarters, were severely damaged.

 

This is the third time that the headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV have been destroyed by the Israeli Occupation Army, where the five-floor headquarters was destroyed during the war on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2019. During its war on Gaza in 2014, the Israeli Occupation Army has destroyed the three headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV, and on Monday evening, it destroyed the headquarters of the TV.

 

The destruction of the headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV is part of a large-scale Israeli systematic targeting aimed at silencing the media and journalists and blurring the practices and attacks of the occupation in Palestine. The Israeli Army has destroyed in three large-scale military attacks, which erupted in Gaza Strip in the years 2008, 2012 and 2014, a total of 61 headquarters of media agencies, not to mention that in 2014, 17 journalists were killed in Gaza Strip.

 

Taking into consideration the serious escalation of the Israeli Occupation authorities and its army targeting journalists and media outlets in Palestine, MADA believes that the impunity of perpetrators of such crimes has encouraged the Israeli Occupation Army to continue committing such crimes, in an official and blatant manner, as in the case of destroying the headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV. Therefore, MADA Center calls on the Special Rapporteur of the freedom of expression at the United Nations, as well as the international human rights organizations to endeavor and investigate the crimes of the Israeli occupation against media freedoms in Palestine and to bring the perpetrators and all those involved to justice as the only way to put an end to these crimes.