PA orders Hamas TV off the air in West Bank

Directive seen as part of an effort to crack down on incitement; Israel has closed 3 Hebron radio stations this month

The logo of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV
The logo of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV

The Palestinian Authority on Monday instructed its broadcasting authority to indefinitely suspend Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV programming in the West Bank.

“The PA’s security apparatuses have announced officially to all broadcasters in the West Bank that they are forbidden from airing the Al-Aqsa network,” Hamas confirmed in a statement on Facebook.

Israeli watchdog groups have long-claimed Al-Aqsa TV promotes terrorist activity, teaches anti-Semitism and incites hatred of Israelis, especially in its programming for children.

Monday’s move was seen as an attempt by Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to tackle Hamas “incitement,” and in so doing to curb the almost-daily clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian rioters.

Read: On Hamas TV, Gaza kids say they aspire to ‘blow up the Jews’

The directive came one day after Israel Defense Forces soldiers raided a popular radio station in the West Bank city of Hebron, confiscated equipment, and shut down the station due to accusations that it has been inciting violence against Israelis.

It was the third radio station to be raided in recent weeks amid persistent Israeli claims that the recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks has been spurred by incitement against Israel in social and traditional media.

The two other radio stations shuttered earlier this month by Israeli security forces were also based in the Hebron area.

The city, a Hamas stronghold, which features a small settler population guarded by a constant military presence, has also seen almost-daily clashes between soldiers and Palestinian rioters.

Several Palestinian stabbing and car-ramming attacks on Israeli civilians soldiers have taken place in and around Hebron, and others have been carried out by terrorists who set out from the area.

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