Israel shuts 'peace' radio citing license issue

Israel shuts 'peace' radio citing license issue

JERUSALEM- Agence France-Presse
Israel shuts peace radio citing license issue

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators run as tear gas canisters fired by Israeli soldiers rain down during clashes at a weekly protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah November 18, 2011. REUTERS Photo

Israel's communications ministry has shut down an Israeli-Palestinian radio station, accusing it of operating a pirate broadcast because it is licensed in the Palestinian territories.

Mossi Raz, the co-director of the "Kol Hashalom" or "All for Peace" radio station, confirmed the closure in comments to Israeli public radio on Sunday.

"The police, on orders from the communications ministry, yesterday shut down our transmitter on the pretext that we are a pirate station, which is false," said Raz, an ex-lawmaker with the leftist Meretz party.

"It's an anti-democratic move. We answer to the Palestinian Authority and not Israeli law," he added.

Raz said the station, which has offices and studios in east Jerusalem, broadcasts from the West Bank city of Ramallah.

It has a Palestinian Authority licence, and Raz says it is not required to have an Israeli licence and he will challenge the closure before an Israeli court.

"Kol Hashalom" was set up by a group of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and broadcasts in both Hebrew and Arabic. Its agenda, which includes ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, has drawn fire from rightwing Israeli lawmakers, including Danny Danon, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

On Sunday, Danon hailed the closure of the radio station, saying it had broadcast "inciting actions against Israel... through a pirated transmission" and was closed after his appeal to the communications ministry.