Al-Aqsa TV (Arabic: قناة الأقصى) is the official Hamas-run television channel named after the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Its programming includes news and propaganda promoting Hamas, children's shows (such as Tomorrow's Pioneers), and religiously inspired entertainment. It is currently directed by Palestinian Legislative Council member Fathi Hamad.
|Launched||9 January 2006|
|Network||al-Aqsa Media Network|
|Slogan||"Your eye at the home" in Arabic "aenik a`ala el-watan"|
|Broadcast area||Middle East, Webcast|
|aqsatv||Live Streaming (24/7)|
The station began broadcasting in the Gaza Strip on January 9, 2006  after Hamas won a sweeping victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections. On January 22, 2006, the Palestinian public prosecutor Ahmed Maghni decided to close down a television station because it did not have the necessary broadcast license, but the decision was never enforced.
On December 29, 2008, during the Gaza War, Israeli aircraft repeatedly bombed the al-Aqsa television station headquarters in Gaza City. The building was completely destroyed, but the station continued to broadcast from a mobile TV unit
On July 29, 2014, during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, an Israeli air strike hit a media building housing al-Aqsa TV and al-Aqsa Radio channel in the centre of Gaza City early on in the morning. The television station continued to broadcast, but the radio station went silent. The radio station has since come back on the air.
On November 12, 2018, Israel bombed the station building after launching at least five non-exploding missiles nearby as warnings to evacuate followed a surge in cross-border fighting. In 2019 after the Shin Bet assessed that al-Aqsa TV used coded messages to recruit operatives to Hamas, the Israeli Ministry of Defense designated al-Aqsa TV as a terrorist organization.
In May 2013, Al-Aqsa TV became the focus of media scrutiny after a decision by the Newseum to honor two Al-Aqsa TV members as part of its ongoing memorial to journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2012. The U.S. government classifies Al-Aqsa TV as being controlled by Hamas, a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist," and states that it "will not distinguish between a business financed and controlled by a terrorist group, such as Al-Aqsa Television, and the terrorist group itself." According to the American Jewish organisation, the Anti-Defamation League, Al-Aqsa TV promotes terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis and much of its programming glorifying violence is geared towards children.
In regards to Al-Aqsa's television programme Tomorrow's Pioneers, following complaints by Israeli watchdog groups that triggered international scrutiny, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said he had asked Al-Aqsa TV to stop the broadcasts so the content could be reviewed. Despite Barghouti's call, Tomorrow's Pioneers went on the air as usual. In later episodes the co-host, a Mickey Mouse-like character named Farfour was killed by an Israeli interrogator, and was replaced by a bee named Naoul, who also died and was replaced by a rabbit character named Assoud. Assoud, in turn, was martyred and replaced by Nassur the bear.
In May 2008, Bassem Naeem, the minister of health in the Hamas government in Gaza, responded to allegations of antisemitism in Al-Aqsa TV programmes. In his letter to The Guardian, Naeem stated that the Al-Aqsa Channel is an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Hamas government or the Hamas movement. In response, Guardian columnist Alan Johnson wrote that Al-Aqsa TV cannot be a media institution independent of Hamas, because it is headed by Fathi Hamad, chairman of a Hamas-run company that also produces the Hamas radio station and its bi-weekly newspaper, and because, since 2007, Hamas had blocked Palestinian National Authority broadcasts into Gaza, which indicated that there is no independent media in Gaza.
About reporting, Ibrahim Daher, a director at Al-Aqsa media operation, said they may not broadcast certain news. He said “If there was bad news during the war, or something went wrong, we just kept silent about it” and “now we mostly keep silent about the blockade, and that Hamas wasn't able to lift it during the war”.
- "Hamas leader killed in air strike". BBC. 2009-01-01. Archived from the original on 2009-01-04.
- "Subtle voices of dissent surface in ...." Archived 2014-08-16 at the Wayback Machine Ynetnews. 15 August 2014. 15 August 2014
- "Hamas Launches Television Network". NPR. Archived from the original on 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2006-02-03.
- Butcher, Tim (2007-05-11). "Anti-Israel 'Mickey Mouse' row escalates". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
- Hamas TV station shut down Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine, news24.com, January 22, 2006
- "Terrorism: Al Aqsa TV". Anti-Defamation League. 13 May 2013. Archived from the original on 12 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- "Hundreds dead, injured in Gaza as Israeli airstrikes continue". CNN. 2008-12-28. Archived from the original on 30 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "Israel-Gaza conflict: massive explosions as air strikes hit Hamas media building". Archived from the original on 2014-07-29. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "Twitter account for AqsaTVChannel". Archived from the original on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- Editorial, Reuters (12 November 2018). "Israel bombs Hamas TV station in Gaza after warning shots". U.S.
- Hacohen, Hagai (February 13, 2019). "Hamas Attempts to Recruit West Bank, Jerusalem Residents - Via Satellite". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- Rubenstein, Sara (March 6, 2019). "Netanyahu Declares Hamas's al-Aqsa TV a Terrorist Organization". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- "Spotlight On Al Aqsa Television". Anti-Defemation League. Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Treasury Designates Gaza-Based Business, Television Station for Hamas Ties". www.treasury.gov. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06.
- Al Aqsa TV defies Hamas government Archived 2008-12-07 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters, May 13, 2007.
- Naeem, Bassem (2008-05-15). "Hamas condemns the Holocaust". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2016-12-01.
- Johnson, Alan (2008-05-15). "Hamas and antisemitism". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2017-01-19.
- McCoy, Terrence (29 September 2014). "Hamas radio station in Gaza reports on the sunny side of Islamist movement's rule". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.