Old City of Jerusalem
Old City of JerusalemIsrael news photo: Hana Levi Julian

Israel has shut down an attempt by the Palestinian Authority to open up a new media outlet in the city of Jerusalem.

The nascent Huna al-Quds ('This is Jerusalem') Radio and Multi Media Center network was just about to launch its opening program Monday via Skype simultaneously in Jerusalem and Ramallah, managing editor Mohammad Abu Arqub said.

Suddenly, Israel Police officers poured into the building located in the Old City, interrupting the event, organized by Al Quds University. 

The Internet radio station and news service was closed down. The launch was blocked, said a police spokesperson, on the grounds that it was an official Palestinian Authority event.

"Police closed an office in the Old City in accordance with an order signed by the public security minister over its intention to launch a network under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority – a violation of Israeli law,” the spokesperson said.

Two university officials – Ali Rweished and Muhannad Izhiman – were arrested. One was later released, and the other remained in custody for further questioning.

The university later condemned the shutdown as a “violation of principles and agreements which protect free speech, academic freedom and the freedom of the press.”

Israel similarly is barred from holding events or opening official offices in the Palestinian Authority's capital city of Ramallah, and PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas warned from the podium of the United Nations last September that he will ensure the PA will be Jew-free if it ever gains sovereignty.