Hamas TV Station Is a Legitimate Target
Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza fired more than 460 missiles and rockets targeting communities in southern Israel on Monday and Tuesday, killing one person, injuring at least 108 others, and sending tens of thousands running for shelter.
Israel’s military responded with coordinated strikes targeting roughly 160 terrorist sites, including the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV and radio stations.
Israel’s critics, including journalist Glenn Greenwald, lambasted Israel for destroying Hamas media outlets during the latest escalation of violence. Greenwald said that the Israelis are “not even pretending this was accidental; they admit they were targeted.”
But enemy media and communications infrastructure can be justifiable targets in an armed conflict.
For example, an International Criminal Tribunal committee, created to review NATO’s bombing campaign in the former Yugoslavia, argued that if media stations are used to incite crimes, then they can be a legitimate target for military action.
Al-Aqsa is Hamas’ main media outlet which — like other Palestinian institutions — offers programs specifically geared to recruit children to embrace and commit terrorism, and become suicide bombers to attack innocent Israeli civilians.
These stations also help Hamas communicate with its fighters.
“The [Al-Aqsa TV] station broadcasts violent propaganda against the State of Israel and its citizens, as well as operational messaging to militants, which include methods for carrying out attacks against civilians and soldiers and way to obtain weapons,” the Israeli military said.
Israel similarly targeted Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station during the 2006 war in Lebanon.
In 2010, the US Treasury Department under Barack Obama designated Al-Aqsa Television as a terrorist entity, because it is controlled and funded by Hamas — a designated terrorist organization.
“Treasury will not distinguish between a business financed and controlled by a terrorist group, such as Al-Aqsa Television, and the terrorist group itself,” Stuart Levey, a former under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in 2010.
To limit casualties, the IDF used roof-knocking techniques to warn people inside the Al-Aqsa TV station, allowing all of the personnel inside to evacuate.
“Israeli planes fired three missile alerts, before F16 planes targeted, with at least three missiles, the al-Quds TV headquarters, destroying it completely. … No injuries were reported,” reported WAFA, the official Palestinian Authority news agency, on Monday, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
Click here to watch the last moments from Al-Aqsa TV‘s final broadcast before Israel destroyed the building.