A radio station that has worked for seven years to bring together Palestinians and Israelis in joint broadcasts and dialogue was shut down by Israeli authorities on Saturday, with the claim that the station lacked the proper license – despite the fact that the station broadcasts from the West Bank and is not under Israeli jurisdiction.
The station was founded by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups seven years ago, and is called ‘Kol Hashalom’ which means ‘Whole Peace’. Its broadcast facility is in Ramallah, which is the base of the Palestinian Authority and considered to be under Palestinian Authority control according to the Oslo Agreement of 1993.
According to the Israeli Communications Ministry, “The Ministry carried out wireless supervisory activities in cooperation with Israel Police against a pirate radio station, just as it carries them out against all other illegal stations”.
The shutdown came after Israeli Knesset (Parliament) Member Danny Danon demanded that the station be shut down, appealing to the Israeli Attorney General and demanding immediate action against the station.
After a November 4th letter to the station claiming that its broadcast was illegal, the station’s management requested time to reply, saying that the station was fully licensed by the Palestinian Authority’s Communication Ministry and therefore not an illegal broadcast.
Israeli peace groups have recently come under fire from Israeli Knesset members, who have passed draconian measures limiting freedom of speech and limiting foreign funding for Israeli peace groups.
Mossi Raz, a former Israeli Knesset (Parliament) member and current station manager of the Kol Hashalom radio station said that the government’s actions are illegal, and plans to file an appeal against the shutdown of the radio station.