Gush Shalom petitions court over West Bank radio

Movement asks High Court to prevent W. Bank radio station Galei Israel from broadcasting in center of Israel.

Car radio 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Car radio 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
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 Migron outpost.
“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 press time.