Gush Shalom cries foul over growth of settler radio station

Group demands to know if Arutz 7 will be broadcasting nationwide.

gush shalom 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
gush shalom 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The left-wing Gush Shalom organization on Thursday demanded to know whether a radio station that was established in the West Bank to serve the settler community will be broadcasting throughout the country even though it is allegedly supposed to be a regional station. "The Gush Shalom movement is warning that the settlers intend to 'create facts' on the radio waves and begin operating a station that, in the disguise of a regional radio station, will reach every part of Israel except Eilat and will broadcast extreme right-wing propaganda in the spirit of the Arutz 7 pirate radio station," the group said. Several years ago, the High Court of Justice nullified Knesset legislation aimed at legalizing Arutz 7, on the grounds that it should not be rewarded for operating without a permit for many years. In 2005, the IDF's West Bank commander issued a military order meant to extend the authority of the Second Television and Radio Authority to the West Bank. Gush Shalom petitioned against the move on the grounds that the authority was an Israeli institution based on Israeli law and as such, the army commander had no authority over it. Consequently, in October 2008, the West Bank military commander established The Second Television and Radio Authority in Judea and Samaria. The court then ruled that the petition was irrelevant and the authority chose the company that would run the regional station. Gush Shalom then filed another petition against the station that has not yet been ruled on. In a letter to the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria and the High Court section of the State Attorney's Office, attorney Gabi Laski wrote that "transforming the Judea and Samaria regional radio station to a station that broadcasts all over Israel is a gross violation of the terms of the permit. I request that you inform me as quickly as possible whether the station has begun it trial broadcasts, where the transmitters are located and to what regions do they intend to broadcast." Gush Shalom spokesman Adam Keller said that if indeed the radio station intends to broadcast all over Israel, it would not meet the criteria of a regional radio station but be rather a national sectoral and political radio station. "If the government wants to move into a new era of political radio stations as opposed to the situation up until now, where all the stations were obliged to be politically neutral, it should be done in a transparent and open way, by law and equally to all sectors of the political map," Keller said. Kobi Sela, who is involved in the station, told The Jerusalem Post that the station had all the proper permits and was, indeed, conducting trial broadcasts.