The Gush Shalom movement filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on
Wednesday, asking the court to prevent a West Bank radio station from
broadcasting in the center of Israel.
According to Gush Shalom, the Galei
Israel (Israel Waves) radio station only has a license to broadcast to “Jewish
residents in Judea and Samaria.”
However, in the petition, attorneys Gabi
Lasky and Limor Goldstein for Gush Shalom claim that Galei Israel, whose studios
are based in the Givat Ze’ev settlement northwest of Jerusalem, is also
broadcasting on two additional transmission frequencies, in the Dan region of
central Israel and in the south of the country.
The petitioners argue
that the the Second Authority for Television and Radio in the West Bank, which
granted Galei Israel its broadcasting franchise, has no authority to permit the
station to broadcast outside the West Bank.
The IDF Central Command in
the West Bank established the regional branch of the Second Authority for
Television and Radio in 2008, in the wake of a previous High Court petition by
Gush Shalom. The body is responsible for radio broadcast licenses in Judea and
Samaria, and Gush Shalom contends that the military command has no authority to
grant broadcasting rights in Israel.
In the petition, Gush Shalom also
argues that granting Galei Israel FM frequencies outside the West Bank “blurs
the boundaries between the sovereign State of Israel and the occupied
territories where military rule applies.”
The petitioners ask the court
to “stop this attempt to create a nationwide ideological radio station without
public debate and without an explicit decision by the legislature, via technical
means and by a blatant disregard of the law.”
The petitioners also
contend that because Israel has a shortage of FM frequencies, “allowing [Galei
Israel] to broadcast into Israeli territory violates the principles of equality
and free competition.”
They claim that the broadcasts violate the rights
of other radio franchisees and broadcasters, arguing that Galei Israel has set
itself up as a competitor without paying a separate franchise fee for
broadcasting in Gush Dan.
Gush Shalom claim they have made several
requests to the Communications Ministry and the commercial broadcasting
regulatory body the Second Authority for Television and Radio, who are both also
named as respondents in the petition, but so far nothing has been done to stop
the broadcasts in Gush Dan.
After filing the petition on Wednesday, Gush
Shalom spokesman Adam Keller compared the pro-settler radio station with the
“Just like the ‘Migron affair’ put facts on the ground,
this time facts are being put on the air,” he said.
Keller said that the
settler movement and their supporters were “getting a nationwide ideological
radio station to create propaganda for their extremist viewpoints, irrespective
of considerations of free competition and without proving an equal opportunity
for the peace camp.”
Galei Israel could not be reached for comment by