Palestinians Angered over Ban Imposed on Launch of Women’s TV Channel by Hamas

Hamas, the Islamist terror group which is in complete political and military control of the Gaza Strip, on Sunday banned the launching of a new television station specializing in Palestinian women’s affairs, the BBC reported.

The new station, designed to “shed light on Palestinian women as an integral part of the social fabric, and the role of women in building society,” was due to air for the first time Sunday night with a special opening ceremony.

However, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Information said Taif TV had not obtained the necessary licenses from the relevant authorities. “The management of the channel was asked to settle their legal status, to obtain licenses to start work and were notified of another licensed media organization of the same name,” the ministry said.

The channel denied the charge and said it had met all the legal obligations. In a statement, the management observed that the channel was part of a program belonging to the Haifa Institute for Media and Communication, which already obtained a license from the Hamas ministry.

“Therefore, they are legal to do their media production work and use social media platforms,” it said in a statement. “That does not violate Palestinian law and is part of the basics of free media activity.”

Hamas has long been accused of discriminating against women and restricting freedom of speech since it took control of Gaza in a violent coup of 2007. Last year Hamas canceled the commemoration of International Women’s Day in Gaza. The terror group that rules Gaza also requires female driving students to be accompanied by a chaperone.

Despite the political circumstances, Taif TV vowed in a video message on its Facebook page that “Our idea will remain and we will keep working on it.”

The ban of the channel prompted Palestinians to express their anger on social media. Palestinian journalist Alaa Helou commented: “Those who are ruling the Gaza Strip make us hate them every day. The boisterous [Hamas] regime has to leave its fingerprint.”

Facebook user Islam Zendah stated: “The doors of the Gaza Strip carry a sign that reads: Here live the [Hamas] dream-killers.” In another Facebook comment, Zeina Al Mashharawi said: “Regrettably, they [Hamas] haven’t left a corner where they haven’t sown hatred, animosity and oppression. There’s no justification for today’s ban.”

[Photo: Real Stories / YouTube]