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Israel orders closure of PA-funded television channel in Israel for 6 months

June 24, 2016 5:02 P.M. (Updated: June 26, 2016 7:57 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan issued an order Friday banning the Palestinian Authority (PA)-funded television channel Musawa for six months, claiming the channel represents an affront to Israel’s sovereignty.

The channel was previously named Palestine 48 and was shut down by the Israeli government last year, before changing its name to Musawa and resuming activities, according to Israeli media.

Although the show is edited in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, it is recorded in Nazareth, leading Israeli authorities to crack down on the channel for lacking proper permission for foreign entities to operate in Israel.

“I will not allow any harm to come to Israel’s sovereignty or give a foothold to the PA within the country,” Erdan was reported as saying by the Times of Israel.

Last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initiated an investigation into the legality of the channel’s operations, as the Israeli government accused the channel of disseminating propaganda to enhance “Palestinian identity.”

The title of the channel, 1948, referred to the year that Israel was established in the midst of 750,000 Palestinians being violently displaced from their villages in an event that Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe.”

In response to the Israeli government shutting down Palestine 48, Riad Hassan, the PA’s communications minister, said at the time that the PA would not cease their operations “even if it does not please the government of settlers that Netanyahu leads. We want to present a platform for Israeli Arabs to introduce themselves to the Arab world, to show them their culture and the difficulties they face."
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