Thu, Nov 25, 2010 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Hamas and Hezbollah’s Satellite Channels Continue Broadcasting Via Arab-Muslim and Western Satellites
The broadcasts spread extremist Islamist ideology and anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, anti-Western propaganda to Arab-Muslim communities around the globe, especially in western and southern Europe.
As part of the battle for hearts and minds, Hamas and Hezbollah invest great resources in operating a number of land and satellite television channels. They use them to spread their extremist Islamist ideology, which includes incitement against Israel, the Jewish people and Western countries. The broadcasts are received in the Middle East, western and southern Europe and various other countries around the world, and reach a vast number of Arab-Muslim communities.
In the past the United States and several European and South American countries made efforts to restrict the broadcasts. However, both Hamas and Hezbollah found ways to circumvent the restrictions by using satellite services provided by Arab-Muslim countries and by frequently changing the non-Arab communications companies they dealt with. The most prominent such companies are the Egyptian-owned Nilesat and the Arab-owned, Saudi Arabian-influenced Arabsat. Of note is the Indonesian Indosat, which broadcasts Al-Manar TV’s programs to Asia and Australia.
Al-Aqsa TV is Hamas’ most important TV channel. It began broadcasting in January 2006, after Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in the Gaza Strip. From the beginning it has been Hamas’ most important propaganda tool and is used to disseminate radical Islam, preach terrorism, spread anti-Semitic hate propaganda and oppose the peace process. The programs are broadcast via the Arabsat and AtlanticBird satellites but can also be received via Egypt’s Nilesat.
On June 7, 2010, the French government instructed its broadcasting authority to stop the Al-Aqsa TV programs broadcast by satellites belonging to the Paris-based French communications company Eutelsat. That was done after France received a warning from the European commission stating that Al-Aqsa TV had repeatedly violated European laws and broadcast programs containing hate propaganda and incitement to violence, especially against Israel and the Jews (Agence France-Presse, June 7, 2010).
A recent examination indicated that Al-Aqsa TV is again using the French Eutelsat to broadcast its programs via a company called Noorsat. Its broadcasts reach countries outside the Middle East, including central and western Europe. Noorsat was founded in 2004 as a private company to provide satellite services for the Arab world and neighboring countries. Its offices are located in Bahrain and Jordan.
Al-Quds Satellite TV
Hamas’ Al-Quds TV began broadcasting in November 2008 to complement Al-Aqsa TV. It is owned by the Al-Quds radio and television company, which is registered in London to Arab and Palestinian businessmen and media personnel. Its programs are broadcast from Beirut, and it has an office in the Gaza Strip.
To broadcast to the Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe, Al-Quds TV uses the services of Nilesat and Arabsat. The programs are broadcast via three communications satellites: Arabsat5A, Arabsat’s Badr4, and Eutelsat’s AtlanticBird4.
Al-Manar TV is Hezbollah’s most important communications tool, immensely popular throughout the Middle East and beyond. Its programs preach the annihilation of Israel, praise terrorism and violence, and disseminate the Iranian version of radical Shi’ite Islam.
In recent years the international community, primarily the United States and South American and European countries, has been waging a struggle against the dissemination of Al-Manar broadcasts. So far the struggle has been only partially successful. Al-Manar TV broadcasts via five satellites, making it possible for its programs to reach the entire Middle East and a large part of Africa, southern Europe, Asia and Australia:
A. Palapa D, a satellite belonging to the Indonesian company Indosat: Its broadcasts cover Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the rest of Oceania, Japan, China, India, southern Russia, Iran and central Asia, and even parts of the Middle East and Africa. Indosat was government-owned until 2003, when the government sold most of its stock in the company. Qatar Telecom (Qtel) currently holds some 65% of the stock, directly and indirectly.
B. Express AM22, which serves an Al-Manar TV experimental channel (according to the LyngSat website): The satellite belongs to an international space communications organization called Intersputnik, which covers 25 countries around the world from Latin America to Southeast Asia to Europe to the Arabian Peninsula. The company directorate is in Moscow.
C. Arabsat5A: The satellite belongs to Arabsat, an Arab communications company under Saudi Arabian influence. Al-Manar TV’s programs are also broadcast via Badr4.
D. Nilesat 102, an Egyptian-owned communications satellite.
 For further information see the August 23, 2010 bulletin, “A number of satellite companies (including Western companies) continue providing communication services for Hezbollah and Hamas’ television and radio, even though restrictions have been imposed by Europe and the United States”.
 A recent example is the speech given on November 5, 2010, by senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar, broadcast by Al-Aqsa TV. For further information see the November 22, 2010 article, “Hamas senior Mahmoud al-Zahar has recently given a vicious anti-Semitic speech to justify the elimination of Israel and the deportation of Jews from the ‘entire territory of Palestine’.” The speech contains themes reminiscent of those found in Al-Zahar’s anti-Semitic book No Future Between Nations, found on board the Mavi Marmara.
 For further information see the November 18, 2008 bulletin, Al-Quds, Hamas’s second satellite TV channel, went on air on November 11, further expanding that movement’s media empire.