By Abdel Raouf Arnaout
Israel has closed a Palestinian media organization in East Jerusalem for allegedly “inciting violence”.
“The Israeli authorities posted a warrant on the door of the organization -- bearing the name of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman -- announcing its closure,” Ahmed al-Safadi, director of the Elia Youth Media Foundation, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
The East Jerusalem-based foundation is known for documenting Israeli abuses against Palestinians.
Notably, Israeli decisions regarding Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem are usually issued by Israel’s internal security minister, not the defense minister.
“We were surprised to find the decision was issued by the Defense Ministry -- that’s highly unusual,” al-Safadi said.
The move, he said, should be viewed within the context of ongoing efforts by Israel to force Jerusalem-based Palestinian institutions to relocate to the occupied West Bank.
“This is unacceptable,” al-Safadi said. “We insist on our right to express our point of view; there is no justification at all for this closure.
He added: “This is an obvious attempt to silence alternative viewpoints regarding what’s going on in Jerusalem.”
Two days ago, Lieberman said via Twitter that he had recently signed a decision classifying the foundation as a “terrorist” organization.
In a related development, scores of Israeli settlers on Thursday forced their way into East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, according to the Jordan-run Islamic Endowments Agency.
“About 200 settlers entered the mosque complex in the morning, with another 40 coming
A Palestinian mosque guard told Anadolu Agency that Thursday’s incursions had included attempts by settlers to perform “Jewish rituals” inside the mosque complex.
The Islamic Endowments Agency has repeatedly condemned such incursions, the size and frequency of which have escalated markedly in recent years.