It turns out that our loyal allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt each have state-owned satellite stations that broadcast Al Manar (Hezbollah TV) throughout the Middle East. Now Nilesat, Egypt’s satellite station, is going to start broadcasting Al Aqsa TV, the Hamas broadcast in the Gaza strip. As my Foundation for Defense of Democracies colleagues Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Snow write in today’s Wall Street Journal Europe:
For a preview of things to come, it’s worth looking into the Palestinian terror group’s media operations at home. Like Hezbollah, Hamas uses its propaganda network to support terror activities, including recruiting suicide bombers, inculcating hatred, raising funds and providing direct operational support to terrorist operations.
Al Aqsa TV routinely broadcasts Hamas leaders calling for jihad, songs of incitement to murder, and videos of Hamas gunmen. Just like Hamas newspapers, magazines, and websites, Al Aqsa programs typically feature splashy stories glorifying the actions of “martyrs” and assurances that through their sacrifices the “Zionist Entity” will be destroyed.
Children are specifically targeted. Hamas produces radio and television shows and publishes an online magazine geared at preteens. A recent issue of the magazine opens with a cartoon of a smiling child riding a rocket while the previous issue glorified suicide bombers and other “martyrs” in cartoons and poetry.
Hamas websites have been used to raise money for terrorist activities, both explicitly and under the guise of “humanitarian” aid. There have been reports, citing Israeli intelligence, that Hamas field coordinators have used Voice of Al Aqsa radio broadcasts to provide terrorists with exact coordinates and trajectories to fire Qassam rockets at Israeli targets.
What’s so confusing about this is that Hamas is the Palestinian offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which assassinated Anwar Sadat and gave us Aiman al-Zawahiri. The Egyptian government has fought to suppress the Brotherhood for decades. Indeed, the Mubarak government is no friend of Hamas, and has consistently insisted that it recognize Israel. What is Egypt up to?
I just asked the Egyptian Embassy’s press office. They said they’d get back to me. Maybe President Bush will have better luck if he calls the Ambassador in for an explanation.