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February 29, 2012 10:39 am

IDF Shuts Down PA Television Stations Putting Airline Passengers at Risk

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El Al aircraft. Photo: wiki commons.

Two television stations being run out of Ramallah, in the West Bank, were shut down overnight on Wednesday and had their transmission equipment confiscated by the Israel Defense Forces.

The Palestinian stations were broadcasting via a signal that was interfering with aircraft communication nearby, according to the IDF, and despite numerous requests from the Israeli government to stop the broadcasts, which were endangering lives, the stations continued transmitting their signal.

“Overnight, IDF soldiers accompanied an operation of the Israeli Ministry of Communications to close two pirate television stations in Ramallah, followed by countless requests to seize their broadcasting, which significantly interrupts other legal broadcasting stations. During the operation, in accordance with law, Communications Ministry representatives confiscated several transmitters. The station’s illegal broadcasting interferes with aircraft communication,” the IDF said in a statement.

Salam Fayaad, the Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister did not see the issue similarly.

“This piracy and raids of Palestinian media institutions brings back to mind the practices during the beginning of the second Intifadah when Israeli occupation forces raided and sabotaged many Palestinian media institutions including Palestine TV, Voice of Palestine, and Wattan TV,” he said.

The issue of signal interference is one of familiarity to U.S. authorities as well.

Regulatory and safety issues have forced Lightsquared – a broadband and satellite signal provider set up by Wall Street titan, Philip Falcone – to fall flat on it’s face recently.  The multi-billion dollar investment from Falcone and his firm, Harbinger Capital Partners, cannot get off the ground because of concerns from federal aviation and defense officials that it’s network interferes with GPS systems on commerical airliners, putting passengers at great risk.

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