Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a decree yesterday declaring Palestinian Al-Aqsa TV a terrorist organisation, claiming it is used by Hamas to recruit terror groups, Israeli media reported.
“This decision comes at the recommendation of the Shin Bet and the Defense Ministry’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing, after the Shin Bet revealed terror group Hamas’ use of the satellite channel ‘Al-Aqsa’ to recruit operatives,” a statement issued by his office said.
In February, Shin Bet claimed that the channel’s broadcasters use quotes from the Quran or subtle language as gestures to recruit Hamas operatives in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
Israeli warplanes have targeted and destroyed Al-Aqsa TV and Radio several times since 2000 when they were firstly launched after years of being banned by the Palestinian Authority.
In November 2018, Israeli warplanes bombed the channel’s headquarters in central Gaza City over claims of incitement against Israeli citizens. The channel was forced off air as a result.
“Netanyahu’s decision against the Al-Aqsa channel is aimed to encourage the targeting of media institutions and an attempt to demonise and prevent the sending of the messages to the world and to suppress our story and narrative,” the channel said in a statement in response to the Israeli measure.
In 2010, the United States blacklisted Al-Aqsa TV over claims of incitement against Israeli citizens.
All Palestinian media unions condemned the Israeli decision with the Journalists’ Club saying: “Al-Aqsa works to disclose the daily Israeli aggressions against Palestinians at a time when Israel does not want this to be reported to the world.”
“Israel declared it a terrorist group in an attempt to suppress its voice, which is the voice of all the Palestinians who are subject to Israeli brutality and barbarism.”