Israel’s recent closure of the offices of the Palestinian media company Marcel in Beit Hanina follows a decades-old Israeli strategy that aims at negating every form of Palestinian national representation and symbols of a democratic society. For Israelis, as Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s finance minister, recently claimed, “there is no such thing as Palestinians, because there is no such thing as the Palestinian people,”1 and therefore they have no national rights, whether that be the right to self-determination, political rights, the right to raise a flag, the right to paint in with the colors of the Palestinian flag or wear clothing in them, or the right to freedom of expression, with a national media corps and professional journalists.
Israel apparently has no problem with individual Palestinians working for international media, whether it is the BBC or even the Qatari Al Jazeera. But having a national radio and TV station is prohibited and is fought tooth and nail, especially in Jerusalem, where the presence of such a voice could suggest a competing claim to sovereignty over the city. On January 20, 2002, in a campaign aimed at ending the Second Intifada, Israel bombed the Voice of Palestine (VoP) radio broadcasting tower in Ramallah, which had been inaugurated in 1936 during the days of the British Mandate, as well as the offices and studios of Palestine TV.2