Hundreds of satellite channels operate in the West Bank, some of which are subject to harassment. The occupation hesitates to close any of them. The reason is that it is keen on keeping up its image as “the only democracy in the region”. That is why it kills silently and slowly, expanding its construction for “the needs of the population growth”.
The occupation allows critical voices, but when such voices turn into an act bringing about change, it immediately suffocates them, indifferent to the fact that it is showing its true ugliness. This is what happened with the Al-Quds satellite station when Israel sensed its ability to bring about change. It then prevented the channel from being broadcasted, confiscated its equipment, banned its work in the West Bank, and classified it as a terrorist organisation.
At first, Israel sent threatening messages, but the station turned a blind eye to them or noticed them, but its spirit of resistance and challenge prevented it from giving in. The station’s equipment was then confiscated, but the willingness for media resistance was stronger than the seized technology. Some of the employees were then targeted and a number of arrest campaigns were launched against the staff. The occupation closed its office in Jerusalem, but it still did not back down. The channel has remained steadfast and determined to deliver its message.
The station has irked and concerned the occupation since its launch in 2008. It was surprised by the resisitance’s satellite channel. It possessed modern technologies and specialists in every field. Since its first day in operation, it has produced materials that attract Palestinian and Arab viewers. It adopted issues and succeeded in highlighting them, and this drove the enemy mad.
It is the voice of the Palestinian refugees whose cause the occupation is trying to obliterate and erase everything that symbolises their return. The station entered their camps and called for their rights. It told the stories of their villages and cities from which they were expelled. Together they drew the way back to Palestine and confirmed that rifles were the shortest way back.
It is the voice of resistance, either by guns or stones. It was with Gaza when it fired its rockets into occupied cities. It was as if they were in the trenches with the resistance, 2008, 2012, and 2014, surprising the enemy. In the West Bank, Al-Quds was present in every demonstration. Its logo was present with every stone and bullet, and it even recorded a stabbing during the Jerusalem Intifada.
It was present in Jerusalem too, with the Murabiteen. Most of its hours of broadcast were filled with pictures of protestors in Jerusalem, objecting to the electronic gates. At that point, the occupation recognised the channel’s role in thwarting the enemy’s ambitions for Al-Aqsa Mosque and therefore shut down its office in the holy city.
It is the voice of all the Palestinians. Al-Quds did not discriminate or separate them based on their factional affiliations. All parties were present on its screen and this added to the occupation’s anger. It recently made the decision to classify the channel as a terrorist organisation on the anniversary of the assassination of journalist Ghassan Kanafani. However, once again, the occupation will fail to stifle the freedom of a people who saw resistance as a way to realise their dreams.
This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 12 July 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.