Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an order declaring the Hamas “al-Aqsa” television channel a terrorist organization.
The decision follows a recommendation by the Shin Bet and the Defense Ministry national anti-economic terrorism unit, which was pursuant to the Shin Bet’s uncovering of the Hamas terror group’s use of the “al-Aqsa” satellite channel to recruit terrorist to its ranks.
Last month it was cleared for publication that the Shin Bet uncovered a Gaza-based Hamas terror cell which recruited Muslim terrorists in Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem in order to carry out mass terror attacks in Israel.
Sleepers cells in Israel were given secret coded messages via the al-Aqsa TV Channel, where the presenters are members of Hamas.
In recent years, Israeli security forces have arrested dozens of Muslim terrorists recruited and operated by Hamas in Gaza. During interrogations, they exposed the method used by Hamas to direct its terror cells outside Gaza.
21-year-old Muslim terrorist Kutiba al-Nawajah, from the terror nest of Yatta in the Hevron area, was arrested on December 21, 2018. He revealed that he talked on Facebook with a Hamas terrorist from Gaza identified as Muhammad Arbeid, who was pictured with a ‘press’ vest during violent riots along the Gaza border.
In order to prove that he is indeed speaking with a member of the Hamas’ armed wing Izz a-Din al-Qassam, he was told to choose a verse from the koran and to watch al-Aqsa satellite channel broadcasting during which the presenter will put down a coffee mug and will recite the lines from the verse he chose.
Al-Nawajah was asked by Hamas terrorists in Gaza to blow up himself with a suicide belt on a bus in the central Israel city of Lod. He was supposed to receive the suicide belt a few days after the date he was arrested.
The use of al-Aqsa TV by Hamas’ armed wing Izz a-Din al-Qassam for terrorist purposes is known to the Shin Bet and the IDF, and this was a significant element in the decision to bomb the building in December 2018.