Al-Aqsa TV Salutes Terror

 

The Al-Aqsa channel owned by Hamas is thought to be the channel with the highest viewership among channels in the territories. For most of the younger Palestinian generation, it is one of the most useful means of knowing what is happening in the region. Instead of spreading to viewers a message that would contribute to the Palestinian community, the channel chooses to incite its viewers to implement Hamas’ violent ambitions.

 

Over the past few years, Hamas has invested in developing viewer traffic in the media realm. Hamas operates Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, websites and television channels, in an attempt to gain legitimacy and public support among the Palestinian public and the Arab world. In trying to win over public approval, many of the organization's resources are invested in incitement against Israel including explicit calls to execute suicide bombings. Incitement against Israel is at times is done subversively, but in many cases, it is obvious and cannot be ignored. Al-Aqsa TV openly implements the “brainwashing” of young Palestinians, which can lead to violent consequences.

Al-Aqsa TV was created in 2005 by Fathi Hamad, one of Hamas’ leaders in the Gaza Strip and is currently broadcasted through Arabsat and Nilesat satellites. In 2012, a new broadcasting studio  was inaugurated in Gaza as part of a festive ceremony led by Ismail Haniyeh. In the beginning of 2016, the channel hired around 500 employees and became a media conglomerate that includes a radio station, a news agency “Shihab” and other media outlets intended for prisoners in Israeli prisons.

The channel strongly affects young Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, therefore It is important for those who allow their children to watch this channel to know the risks in watching the content that is broadcasted.  It is a possible that these young Palestinians will carry out a terror attack and die, trying to resembling the image of the “Shahid” (martyrs), portrayed and praised on the channel’s broadcasts. In a survey published in 2015, the channel won the highest viewership in the territories and Gaza, which were followed by Palestinian channels affiliated with the Palestinian Authority, and other networks such as  Al-Jazeera TV, Ma'an TV and Al-Arabiya TV. Al-Aqsa TV glorifies terrorists who committed terror attacks in Israel, and calls upon young Palestinians to carry out the killing of Jews and encourages an Intifada.

How is Al-Aqsa Brainwashing Palestinians?

In January 2016, a Palestinian police officer named Amjad Al-Sucari opened fire on an IDF post in the Beit El area. The terror attack resulted in 3 injured Israeli soldiers, one of them in critical condition. After the attack, a newscaster from Al-Aqsa TV, Ayad Fanunah, began the broadcast by praising the terrorist, stating: “You are a Palestinian warrior, carrying your weapon and grabbing your sword, striking the enemy in the heart of Beit El”, while finishing his statement with a salute to the terrorist.

 

Saluting terrorists on live broadcasts gathered more momentum over time. Such an example took place in April 2016, after a suicide bomber carried out an attack on a bus in Jerusalem injuring 20 people,among them a 16-year-old girl in critical condition. Al-Aqsa TV exploited took the situation to incite through a special series of broadcasts. The newscaster praised the suicide bomber for the terror attack and saluted him. Behind the newscaster was a map of the region with "rivers of blood" flowing from the Palestinian and Arab cities.

 

Along with praising terror attacks, a main part of the incitement and brainwashing against Israel carried out by Al-Aqsa TV is the use and distribution of propaganda videos. In June 2016, a video clip titled “The Passion to Stab” was broadcasted on this channel. The video shows pictures of various terror attacks against Israelis, with cheers in the background encouraging more stabbings, shootings and vehicle rammings.

 

In October 2016, Palestinian terrorist Misbah Abu-Sbeh carried out a shooting attack near the French Hill in Jerusalem, two Israelis were killed and 6 others were injured. An Al-Aqsa TV newscaster leveraged this opportunity to praise the terrorist, stating: “Misbah Abu-Sbeh is a hero, who set off today in order to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque”. Audiences which are exposed to these types of broadcasts must understand that reality is portrayed to them in an extremely twisted manner.

Since November 2015, throughout the recent wave of attacks in Israel,  Al-Aqsa TV has tried to incite in an attempt to escalate the situation even further. The channel called for more arson attacks in Israel: “After seeing how a knife and gun can be used, we see that a little combustive material is enough to instill fear among enemy lines”. During the land fires, it was very clear how the channel used Muslim tradition and the manipulation of those traditions for propaganda against Israel: “Even Ali ibn Abi Talib said that during his time, fire is the most powerful element in the world”.

As part of the exploitation of religion for personal use, the channel’s religious programs calls onto its viewers to kill Jews and describes suicide operations as the purpose of life and the fulfillment of Islamic values.

The channel aims to inflame anger and provoke violence in the Palestinian public. It should be noted that these provocations are not only intended against Israel, but also inciting violence against the Palestinian Authority and its Security . In November 2014, Al-Aqsa TV was declared illegal by the Palestinian Authority.

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Immediate effect: Watching Broadcasts and Carrying Out Attacks

In recent years, many Palestinian detainees testified during interrogations and conversations that Al-Aqsa TV is closely linked to their decision to carry out an attack. Some of them decided to embark on spontaneous action based on their own personal decision after watching the channel's broadcasts.

A Palestinian detainee who was arrested during an attempted attack, stated in a conversation that before she decided to carry out an attack, she habitually watched Al-Aqsa TV and said that the channel was her only window to the world outside. Only through this channel, she was able to see what was going on around her. The channel, of course, presents a false representation of the outside world and promotes incitement against Israel among young Palestinians. The detainee previously filled out notebooks in detail on what was broadcasted on the channel; each breaking story, summarized interviews and edited recordings from the broadcasts. She eventually went and carried out a terrorist attack and was arrested, if that isn't being “brainwashed”, then what is?

This channel in the Palestinian public opinion is considered the official channel of Hamas. In addition to current affairs programs and news broadcasts, it also broadcasts recreational, cultural, religious, entertainment, public opinion, hospitality and social programs. Children are often times taken advantage of by the channel for the purpose of incitement and propaganda, they often express their dream of joining Hamas’ military wing.

The youth exposed to this channel are not always aware that they receive a very exaggerated and inflated picture of the territories. They are not aware that the channel plays with their thoughts and Hamas uses them for personal benefits.