A program using a Mickey Mouse-like character to urge Palestinian children to fight Israel and the West and work for world Islamic domination has been pulled off Hamas's television station for "review," the Palestinian information minister said.
Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the use of the cartoon character in such a role represented a "mistaken approach" to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.
Barghouti wrote that following a request from his ministry, the program was pulled from the Hamas-affiliated Al Aksa TV and "placed under review." In the statement, Barghouti said his ministry "would continue to ensure freedom of expression and freedom of the press, but that media outlets breaking the law would be penalized."
Barghouti complained that the Mickey Mouse story continued to receive attention by "some American television stations" after it was resolved, and that media did not broadcast video of Israeli human rights violations supplied by his ministry in recent weeks.
Israel has long complained that the Palestinian airwaves are filled with incitement.
Israeli officials denounced the program. David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office, said, "There is nothing comic about inciting young generations of Palestinians to hate Israelis."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev called the program "outrageous" and charged that the Palestinians have not carried out their commitments to stop incitement of hatred toward Israel. "Children are taught that killing Jews is a good thing," he said. "Children are taught to hate Jews and to hate nonbelievers."
"You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists," the cartoon character squeaked on a recent episode of the show, which is titled, Tomorrow's Pioneers.
"We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness, and liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers."
Children call in to the show, many singing Hamas anthems about fighting Israel.