On March 14, 2023, Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir signed an order banning Marcel, a private production services company in Beit Hanina inside the Jerusalem boundaries, from providing communication services to the Ramallah-based Voice of Palestine (VoP) radio station and Palestine TV, the official channels of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The Marcel company provided the VoP and Palestine TV with a branch studio and offices inside the city boundaries, enabling them to broadcast programming within East Jerusalem, extending their reach outside Areas A, B, and C to inside Israel.
On March 20, police arrived at the Marcel offices in Beit Hanina, closed them, and arrested the manager, Amir Abbas, and six company employees: Palestinian reporters Layali Eid, Nuhad Hijazi, and Lana Kamela, photographers Yazan Haddad and Walid Kamar, and camera operator Firas Handawi, according to Arab News. Police interrogated Abbas for hours before releasing him.
The Israeli police verbally warned all five journalists, as well as Abbas, to stop their work for the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), the parent company of the VoP, from Jerusalem, and released them without filing charges. Israel had earlier banned the PBC from operating directly in Jerusalem in November of 2019.
Ben-Gvir himself tweeted about the closure mockingly, referring (in Hebrew) to the office as an “enemy media channel” that “belongs in Syria, not Eretz Israel.”1
The PBC published a statement on the closure, which read: