French regulator warns against Al-Aqsa television


PARIS (JTA) — The Al-Aqsa television network, which serves as a voice for Hamas, will not be broadcast in Europe as Hamas had announced.

The French TV regulator, the CSA, warned a Paris-based satellite network, Eutelsat, that if it went ahead with plans to broadcast the Al-Aqsa channel this week, it could be in violation of French law. Eutelsat stations can be viewed in Europe and parts of the Mediterranean Basin.

The Al-Aqsa channel is well known in the Middle East for encouraging jihadism, and specifically the murder of Jews. Children of a suicide bomber were asked in one show "how many Jews" their mother killed before going to paradise.

CSA reminded Eutelsat that French law forbids inciting hate, according to the French news agency AFP.

Eutelsat denied having a contract with Al-Aqsa, AFP reported, but said that one of its providers, Bahrain-based Noorsat, had "rented space" to the Hamas channel. Eutelsat was similarly ordered in May 2005 to remove the Hezbollah-affiliated station Al-Manar from its network.

Jewish organizations such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Jewish Committee, working with the Coalition Against Terrorist Media, had urged the CSA to block Al-Aqsa from broadcasting in France and Europe.

In a letter to the CSA, the Wiesenthal Center said the Hamas network would encourage youth to attack "their Jewish neighbors."

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