France takes Hamas TV off the air following request by Israel

In an effort to fight Palestinian incitement, Israel asked France to block Hamas broadcasts through its satellite service. While France complied, Hamas found another way to air its anti-Semitic propaganda.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with French President François Hollande during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris on November 30, 2015. Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

PM Netanyahu meets with French President François Hollande. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

French President Francois Hollande on Friday ordered the French satellite service EUTELSAT to stop broadcasting the Hamas Al-Aksa channel because of its incitement to commit terrorist attacks against Israel, following a direct request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Al-Aksa’s transmission had been cut off through the French service, but was back on air shortly after using the Egyptian Nilesat, and is now broadcasting as usual.

Israel has been operating to shut down Palestinian media outlets which incite against Israel and Israelis, and call for terrorist attacks. Israel maintains that one of the driving forces behind the wave of terrorist attacks is incitement by the Palestinian leadership and clergy through its state and local media.

On Friday, Israeli forces raided a TV station run by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization in Ramallah.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Farouq Elayan, the head of the Falestine al-Youm (Palestine Today) channel, was detained in the raid.

Elayan, 34, had been incarcerated in the past for terrorism activities in the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad group. The outlet, which also publishes material on social media sites, encouraged Palestinians to attack Israelis, the IDF said.

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In a statement, Falestine al-Youm said two other two staff members had also been arrested and that their equipment was confiscated. Islamic Jihad has carried out suicide bombings and shootings in the past.

Incitement to terrorism “serves the interest of terror organizations, to widen the circle of terrorists carrying out attacks against targets in Israel and Judea and Samaria,” the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency), which participated in the raid, stated.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned Israel for its action against the terror-supporting network, calling its action against the station “the brutal attack against free press” and demanded an “immediate reaction” from the United Nations to what they termed as “the escalation of attacks against the press in the occupied territories.”

Yair Lapid

MK Yair Lapid. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“We cannot tolerate these continuous attacks from Israeli authorities to muzzle Palestinian press. Incitement of terror is a dangerous accusation to make against a media and a decision to close it down cannot occur without due process,” IFJ President Jim Boumelha stated.

Member of Knesset (MK) Yair Lapid blasted Boumelha for his allegations, accusing him of defending the right to incite to terrorism rather than defending the right to free press. “This isn’t free speech, this is hate speech,” he wrote Boumelha.

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“Israel is a thriving democracy with a strong press,” Lapid, a former journalist, wrote him. “The freedom of press does not pertain to terror propaganda and to those who incite and murder.”