Friday, May 11, 2007

Farfur Questions the "Authority" of the Palestinian Authority

It would appear that Friday is still Farfur day on Al-Aqsa Television. Nidal al-Mughrabi, who yesterday submitted the Reuters story about a unified Hamas-Fatah police force in Gaza, today reported for Reuters that Al-Aqsa Television has decided to defy the injunction by Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti to suspend broadcast of Tomorrow's Pioneers. Indeed, if Barghouti's move was an attempt to call a "time out" for reviewing the content, then Al-Aqsa Television made a point of letting the viewers of Tomorrow's Pioneers know that it was still business as usual:

During one of the skits, Farfur told young viewers that he aspired to be like the slain spiritual leaders of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

A young girl, who identified herself as Amani, called in to the show to sing a popular Hamas song.

"Jerusalem we are coming. We will not rest and we will not be humiliated," Amani sang as Farfour danced on a stage decorated with drawings, including one of a rocket.

This continuity was further confirmed at the executive level of Al-Aqsa Television:

Fathi Hammad, chairman of Al-Aqsa Television, defended the show: "It does not violate any moral or professional standard," he told a Hamas Web site, adding it would not be withdrawn or its content changed.

Meanwhile, it appears that Ismail Haniyeh is continuing to keep silent on this matter. He is obviously in an extremely awkward position. Al-Aqsa Television is supposed to be the "media voice" of the party he leads; but, while he has been trying to put a lot of effort into convincing both his President and the rest of the world that Hamas wants to see a unified Palestinian government, Al-Aqsa continues to preach the very sort of militant defiance that troubles just about anyone search for a path towards peace in the Middle East. What is at stake is the legitimacy of Haniyeh's voice in any future conversations about Palestine and the Middle East in general; and, unfortunately, keeping silent about Farfur is probably not going to be an effective strategy for shoring up that legitimacy.

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