|Type||Satellite television network|
|Availability||Middle East, Webcast|
|Motto||"Your eye to home " in Arabic "aenik a`ala el-watan"|
|Fathi Hamad, director|
|9 January 2006,
Al-Aqsa TV (Arabic: شبكـة الأقصـى) is the official Hamas-run television channel. Its programming includes news talk, children's shows (such as Tomorrow's Pioneers</ref>), and religiously inspired entertainment. It is currently directed by Palestinian Legislative Council member Fathi Ahmad Hammad.
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 2008–2009 Israel-Gaza conflict, Israeli aircraft repeatedly bombed the al-Aqsa television station headquarters in Gaza. The building was completely destroyed, but the station continued to broadcast from a mobile TV unit
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 organization, the Anti-Defamation League, Al-Aqsa TV promotes terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. The TV channel also promote resistance towards the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and much of its programming that glorifies 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 Ahmad Hammad, 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.
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- "Hamas Launches Television Network". NPR. 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, news24.com, January 22, 2006
- "Terrorism: Al Aqsa TV". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 2013.
- "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.
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- "Palestinians: IAF aircraft bomb Hamas television studios". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
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- Al Aqsa TV defies Hamas government, Reuters, May 13, 2007.
- Naeem, Bassem (2008-05-15). "Hamas condemns the Holocaust" (in English). London: The Guardian.
- Johnson, Alan (2008-05-15). "Hamas and antisemitism" (in English). London: The Guardian.
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