Hamas official: Army Radio gives me free speech

Right-wing NGO tricks Rantisi into pledging support for IDF radio station as part of campaign to close military radio station.

By
June 21, 2011 17:30
1 minute read.
Joint Fatah Hamas press conference

Fatah Hamas press conference 521. (photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

 
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MKs and journalists received a call on Tuesday purportedly from Hamas spokesman Ribhi Rantisi, telling them that Army Radio should not be closed, out of concern for free speech.

The call was actually pre-recorded by My Israel, an organization that, among other things, advocates closing the IDF’s radio station, because its hosts interview Hamas members. A member of the NGO telephoned Rantisi, claiming he was a representative of Army Radio, and asked him to pledge his support for the station.

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“Hello, this is Ribhi Rantisi the Hamas activist in Gaza,” the voice calling from a Palestinian area code told the lawmakers and reporters. “I call for members of the Knesset Economics Committee to allow Army Radio to have freedom of expression.

“I’m usually interviewed on Army Radio, and they give me freedom of speech, and I think this should continue,” the voice on the phone continued, calling the IDF station “everyone’s home,” perhaps a play on the station’s slogan, “The home of the soldiers.”

MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) said he expects that “whoever sent out this criminal message will reveal himself and not hide behind a keyboard.

“A dangerous line has been crossed,” Cabel said.

My Israel director Ayelet Shaked said that “it is absurd and painful that fighters and officers see their military radio station as hostile, while terrorists come to its defense.”

Three weeks ago, the Knesset voted approved the Army Radio Bill in its first reading. The measure would allow the radio station to continue its activities for another year and broadcast messages from sponsors.

Next week, the Knesset Economics Committee plans to prepare the law for its second and third (final) readings in the plenum.

Shaked called on the Knesset Economics Committee “not to extend the law... unless there is a real revolution in the station.”

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