TEL AVIV – Hamas banned a new TV station for women on Sunday, prompting an outcry that the Gaza-ruling terror group is “oppressive.”
The new station, designed to “support [and] develop women’s capabilities,” was due to air for the first time Sunday night with a special opening ceremony. However, the event organizers said they received an order from Hamas’ Ministry of Information instructing them to cancel the festivities and the launch, the Times of Israel reported.
According to the ministry, Taif TV for Palestinian Women did not obtain the proper licence. In addition, it said, another institution in the Gaza Strip has the same name and while the ministry respects freedom of expression, it expressed “regret” that the managers of the new station had not followed the law.
In a statement, the TV station’s management said that the women’s channel belonged to the Haifa Institute for Media and Communication, which already holds a valid licence from the Hamas ministry.
“We regret the claims made by the Government Press Office in Gaza and affirm that our legal status is intact and is not in violation of the law,” the management said, adding that the proper permit for the launch had been obtained from the Ministry of the Interior.
The TV station was aimed at “serving Palestinian women, developing their capabilities and supporting their role in the process of the development of Palestinian society,” the management said.
The ban prompted Palestinians to express their ire 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 commented: “The doors of the Gaza Strip carry a sign that reads: Here live the [Hamas] dream-killers.”
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.”