Fighting the settler invasion of the airwaves

Gush Shalom

The Gush Shalom movement found out that West Bank settlers intend to "create a fait accompli on the airwaves, and start operating a broadcasting station which, under cover of "a regional radio station", will reach to all parts of Israel, except to Eilat. It is to broadcast extreme right propaganda in the style of the pirate "Arutz-7" station, closed by court order several years ago. The settlers have no legal authorization for this act, which is undertaken before the Supreme Court rendered its ruling in Gush Shalom's appeal.

As reported on religious and extreme right websites the initiators of the radio station have already established offices in the settlement of Giv'at Ze'ev and started with "trial broadcasts" and hiring broadcasters known in their constituency.

The Directors are Yehoshua Mor-Yosef and Kobi Sela, veterans of Arutz-7, and also Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Tzfad, notorious for his blunt racist remarks who is in charge of the station's "religious, ideological side".

The financing is provided by businessman Tzvi Shalom, brother of Minister Silvan Shalom who has been recently supporting the settlers in their various campaigns.

Originally, the radio station was going to go on the air already in 2007, but this was delayed due to appeals lodged by the Gush Shalom movement to the Supreme Court. Adv. Gaby Laski contested the authority of the West Bank military governor to issue a franchise for creating "a regional radio station for Judea and Samaria". She asserted that the so-called "radio and television authority for Judea and Samaria" headed by Colonel Sharon Afek, is a fictional body and therefore the franchise issued by it is null and void. However, before the judges had the chance to give their ruling, it has come out that the settlers prepare for broadcasting inside Israel's sovereign territory, for which the military governor certainly cannot provide a permit.

Adv. Laski sent an urgent letter to the military government and the state prosecution, stating: "Turning a regional radio station into a station broadcasting for the whole of Israel is a clear and manifest violation. My client, the Gush Shalom movement, had already appealed against the franchise as such. With this new information, my client would need to amend its appeal and add to it this further violation."

"We don't want to block the settlers' mouths and we have no objection to the creation of a right-wing radio station - as long as it does not broadcast racist incitement. But if we move over to an age of political radio stations in Israel, rather than the existing situation where all broadcasts are legally obliged to be politically neutral, this must be done in an open, transparent way according to a law, and equally for all parts of the Israeli political spectrum", says Gush Shalom spokesperson Adam Keller.

"If there is created a radio station of the settlers and their supporters then there should be created simultaneously a radio station of the peace camp calling for dismantling of the settlements, reporting continuously on violation of human rights and free from the enforced censorship and self-censorship which the mainstream media are subject to with regard to what is going on in the Occupied Territories."

Contact: Adam Keller +972-(0)54-2340749 Adv. Gabi Laski +972-(0)54-4418988 Adv. Neri Ramati +972-(0)52-6848869

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