Hamas TV remains on air as it appeals French ban
The Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV station in Gaza said on Tuesday it was in negotiations over a French ban and would continue to broadcast to Europe through Thursday.
"We are still in negotiations with the French government and the broadcasting union and the European Union in order to reverse the decision," station deputy head Mohammed al-Thuraya told AFP.
"We have appointed lawyers to lodge an appeal with the broadcasting union, and based on this we will continue broadcasting until Thursday."
Last week the station was informed it would no longer be carried by the French-based satellite provider Eutelsat because of its "incitement to hatred," a move that would deprive it of 70 percent of its audience.
Earlier this month the French government had ordered Eutelsat, which broadcasts Al-Aqsa through an agreement with Bahrain-based Noorsat, to take the channel off the air after receiving a complaint from the European Commission that it violated rules on incitement.
Thuraya said the station was in "difficult" negotiations with French authorities but insisted it would not cancel any programmes.
"We do not incite hatred or anti-Semitism, and we have the right to defend the Palestinian struggle," he said.
The channel shows music videos and three-dimensional cartoons glorifying the killing of Israeli soldiers by masked militants, as well as a children's show with a Mickey Mouse-like character that encourages martyrdom and armed struggle leading to the destruction of Israel.
Israel repeatedly targeted the channel during a devastating 22-day Gaza offensive launched in December 2008 and aimed at halting Hamas rocket attacks, which destroyed all the channel's studios but failed to take it off the air.
Hamas, which won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 and violently seized power in Gaza the following year, is sworn to the destruction of Israel and has launched scores of deadly attacks since it was founded in 1987.
© 2010 AFP