Palestinian militants of the Islamist movement Hamas' military wing Al-Qassam Brigades.
(photo credit: SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an order declaring the Al-Aqsa TV channel a terrorist organization on Wednesday, according to a statement released by the Defense Ministry.
The TV channel was declared a terrorist organization under Israel's Anti-Terrorism law.
The Shin Bet's (Israel Security Agency) discovery that Hamas utilizes the TV channel to recruit operatives led to the recommendations of the General Security Service and the National Counterterrorism Bureau of the Defense Ministry to declare it as a terrorist entity.
Senior Hamas figure Fathi Hamad, a former Hamas interior minister, owns the channel and regularly uses it to further Hamas's goals. The channel regularly broadcasts incitement against Israel, including calls to the public to attack Israeli civilians and "days of rage."
Additionally, Hamas used the channel to recruit new activists and secretly communicate with them. The channel's broadcasters include Hamas operatives who communicate messages to Hamas recruits in the West Bank and Gaza Strip via the channel in various ways.
The Defense Ministry provided a detailed example of Hamas's use of the channel for terrorism purposes. A Hamas official who tried to recruit an activist was asked to prove his identity as a Hamas operative. He instructed the potential recruit to watch a certain program on Al-Aqsa TV, during which the broadcaster would perform certain actions, including moving his watch from his left hand to his right hand. This method was used several times in various ways to reassure new recruits that they were speaking to genuine Hamas operatives.
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