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Palestinians to launch all-sports TV channel

First-of-its-kind initiative seeks to eventually cover all Palestinian sporting events, plans full launch in 4-5 months

Palestinian soccer players warm up during a training session at the Asian Games athletes’ village in Incheon, South Korea, September 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Rajshekhar Rao, File)
Palestinian soccer players warm up during a training session at the Asian Games athletes’ village in Incheon, South Korea, September 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Rajshekhar Rao, File)

Palestinians will soon launch a new television station dedicated to local sports, with a first test broadcast scheduled for Wednesday, the founder of the station told AFP on Saturday.

For Wednesday’s test, the channel will broadcast a friendly match between Algerian and Palestinian players.

“The official launch of the channel will be in four or five months,” director Wael Romana said.

The station has already recruited around forty employees and hopes to grow bigger going forward. “The goal,” he said, “is to eventually cover all Palestinian sporting events in all fields.”

Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub, who heads the Palestinian Football Association and Olympic Committee, welcomed the arrival of the channel as a “historic turning point” in the history of Palestinian sports.

The Palestinians possess tools to broadcast via Arab satellites which Israel “has no power to affect,” an official in the Palestinian ministry of information told AFP. “The Palestinian Authority has purchased 18 channels on both Nilesat and Arabsat satellites and can sell them to whomever it wants without Israel being able to interfere,” he said.

The Palestinians operate nearly 90 local radio stations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as 18 television stations.

Palestinians accuse Israel of hindering sports activities, including imposing restrictions on movement for athletes and controlling the importation of sports equipment. Israel maintains that such limitations are necessary for security reasons.

The Palestinians also seek to send 8-10 athletes to the Rio Olympics this year, according to the Palestinian Olympic committee for whom participation in the games is not only a sporting event, but a political statement in favor of a Palestinian state.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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