The Israeli Ministry that Ordered the Raid

Friday, May 04, 2012


The February raids on two Palestinian TV stations were carried out by Israeli Defense Forces on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of Communications. Brooke speaks with the ministry's director general, Eden Bar Tal, who says Wattan TV was operating illegally and only raided after repeated requests to stop interfering with Israeli frequencies.


Yo-Yo Ma - Bach Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D Minor, Mov. VI: Gigue


Eden Bar Tal

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [17]

Diana from NH

Thanks to On The Media for airing these series of reports on Watan TV and the difficulties Palestinian journalists face trying to do their jobs while living under Israeli occupation.

May. 13 2012 05:21 PM

Did Brooke seek the a copy of the protocols of the meetings held between the Palestinian media technical authorities and their Israeli counter parts on the technical specifications? The Israeli gentleman and spokesperson (who succumbed to a crude sarcasm when he did not like the questions being asked) statated that such meetings took place.

The Palistinian Gentleman at the start of the broadcasts explained that because such meetings have never been allowed to occur, underground and unauthorized stations have sprung up -- there is no framework for authorization.

The Israelis counter this with such meetings have of course taken place.

If they have, there are positively records and a protocol. This would be public information.

If they do not exists, we know that the Palestinians were telling the truth.

Occupations of a people, no matter why or when, always make all sides do bad things. End the occupation.

May. 12 2012 03:55 PM
Lane Phillips from Saint Paul

There seems to be some misunderstanding on what a modem is. It's a device that modulates and demodulates signals. It could connect your computer to the internet (what Brooke thinks a modem is), or, more likely in this case, convert a digital video signal into an analog radio frequency. It was probably one of the more sophisticated and expensive items at the station, and it was also probably relatively easy to carry away.

If you wanted your spouse to stop watching so much satellite TV, you could go on the roof and unbolt the dish, or you could just take the box from under the TV. Essentially the IDF took the box out from under the TV.

I think the Palestinians and Israelis in this story are all in agreement that the station was disabled by the IDF. It would have been nice if Brooke had done her homework rather than wasting so much airtime arguing over a technical term. The minister's amused sarcasm was an appropriate response to ignorance, though he could have made it clear that a TV station cannot function without a modem.

May. 07 2012 10:21 AM

I appreciate that that the reporter fulfilled her role as a journalist by challenging contradictions between the IDF report and the guest's statements. She did her job--which is to think critically and challenge us to think critically. Questioning inconsistencies, calling attention to holes in a story when they don't add up--these are her responsibilities as a journalist. I thought Ms. Gladstone honored the tradition of Edward R. Murrow by being willing to ask tough questions, not back off, and take the heat when popular opinion may be against her. I appreciate the story was presented within a larger context--how the different parties in this conflict experience these incidents from very different points of view. The incidents have different meaning for each. Thank for helping us appreciate the complexity of the situation. Thank you, NPR and On the Media for the courage to cover this story.

May. 07 2012 02:36 AM
James from Boston

Ms. Gladstone's piece was an embarrassment to all who care about objectiove reporting. An inordinate amount of time was given to the personal testimony of the law-breaking (breaking the rules agreed between both Israelis and Palestinians) owner of the renegade Palestinian TV station. No comparable testimony from those impacted in Israel was provided. Gladstone only provided an interview with an Isreli government spokesperson whom she constantly berated with rude and inaccurate accusations. If Western reporters continue to enable counterproductive behavior by Palestinians, the confidence among Israelis that they have a responsible partner with whom to craft a peace agreement will be thwarted.

May. 06 2012 11:49 PM

This interview was oozing with BIAS. Her tone and attitude towards the Israeli guest were harsh and confrontational. This is in stark contrast to the gentle, empathetic way she spoke to and questioned the Palestinian contributors. This kind of one- sided, anti- Israel reporting is SO frustrating, and really clouds the way I feel about npr as a whole.

May. 06 2012 09:31 PM

I liked Brooke's short commentary following the interview. OTM is one of the best shows on NPR.

May. 06 2012 05:01 PM

Great interview, tough questions.

May. 06 2012 03:58 PM

In a region where governments ferociously wipe out speech they do not approve of we have a Israeli minister being berated for "sarcasm" and confiscating a modem after several notices to this TV station run by Palestinians who have been carefully taught for decades that rules and agreements do not apply to them but only to Israel.

Perhaps next time the Israeli minister should try weeping uncontrollably when interviewed. That seems to work.

May. 06 2012 12:22 AM
Carlton Johnson from Winter Park, FL

Dear OTM,
I just finished to listening to the segment about the Israeli raid on Wattan TV. I loved Brooke's calm and deliberate approach to Eden Bar Tal's continued assertions that only the modems were taken. I appreciate OTM very much in its approach to being direct clear and to the point with the interviewees. Despite what others have written above , I believe that your approach was fair and balanced.

May. 05 2012 02:05 PM

The Palestinian stations' transmissions were endangering flights at Israel's one major airport, but instead On The Media makes a story of Goliath stomping on the poor Palestinians.

When this event occurred at the end of February, false reports had it that Israel had detained station personnel. That didn't happen. If the Israeli ministry spokesman says they took only modems, then that would be the truth, and Brooke should not be so incredulous that modems are not important for direct broadcast satellite transmissions. When the Palestinians trump up anything they can to try to tar Israel, the western media fall for it every time. Why didn't Brooke mention the interference with Ben Gurion Airport? And why didn't she make the story about what she only mentions at the start: that the Palestinian Authority arrest journalists, blocks opposition websites and curbs press freedoms?

May. 05 2012 01:00 PM

"Why was the operation undertaken in this manner"?

Why didn't the Israeli government just send in an unarmed cable guy into the Palestinian territories and request the modem as if he was visiting a suburban home on Long Island?

What could possibly go wrong?

May. 05 2012 12:33 PM
Flyover from NYC

Thanks OTM for this brave presentation. There is sure to be backlash from the zionist powers and a lot of disgusting name calling.
I am glad stories like these are coming to the fore, particularly in the US where news reported from this area by our media is typically distorted, sanitized and chiefly one-side. Americans should witness how our blank check support (financial, credits, military, blood) of Israel is utilized - beyond appalling.
Hope for peace and fairness is rising with this diligent reporting by OTM, recent CBS 60 Minutes broadcast, and surprising statement made by the travel guru Rick Steves.

Keep up the great work OTM - Americans want to hear the truth of the matter, any matter.

May. 05 2012 10:54 AM
drora kemp from North NJ

Two terms in Mr. Bar Tal response to Ms. Gladstone's questions, uttered quite unconsciously, reflect the totality of the problem. He talks about "Israel" and "the Palestinians"as parties in the matter. Is there anything more that needs to be said about the status of these entities?!
Until there is a term to describe the second party of the parties there will be no solution to the problem. And how perverse is the fact that Israelis can dictate what media "the Palestinians" peruse?!

(As a side comment, as an Israeli (Jew), I remember watching Lebanese and Jordanian TV stations in the days when Israel had only one TV station. I watched all the episodes of Carl Sagan's Cosmos illegally on fuzzy Lebanon TV.)

And by the way, the history of Israel TV, which was inaugurated only in 1969, is a fascinating media subject in itself.

May. 05 2012 10:21 AM
John B F from NYC

I thought Brooke was restrained, talking with a man who was lying.... blatantly lying to her. His story didn't even match that of the IDF. So how can you possibly believe anything he says? His cruel sarcasm- well noted by Brooke- was worthy of a macho teenage bully.
When someone asks logical , appropriate questions about a military raid in the dead of night on a media outlet and and those questions are labelled as 'partisanship' it is clear that what is really being said is that shining light on the truth makes the guilty squirm. Goliath pretending to be David.

May. 05 2012 09:35 AM
Steve Maggi from Austin, TX

You can never win with Israel, they'll always be the "victims." The country is ruled by a gov't with no interest in peace and it will twist everything that way.

May. 05 2012 09:27 AM
henry from NY

I would like to know how Brooke would suggest the problem of illegal, interfering, tv station signals should be addressed without causing more antagonism and possible violence. Her clear partisanship in the interviews is not befitting any news program but particularly this one. If she is skeptical that any joint meetings were held between the Israelis and the Palestinians on the committee, investigate! Don't just let your bias rule.

May. 05 2012 08:03 AM

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