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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) dominated the airwaves during its recent (Nov. 14-22) war with the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. Hamas initially used radio and television outlets to get out its version of events. The broadcasts encouraged Palestinians in the opening days of the conflict.
The IDF’s first tactic was to prevent the pro-Hamas stations from broadcasting. This was accomplished by IDF airstrikes on two buildings housing pro-Hamas radio and television facilities. The strikes knocked these stations off of the air. Any Palestinian now tuning in would hear dead air or see a blank screen.
The second tactic was broadcasting IDF messages over the now unused Hamas frequencies. Palestinians were already tuned in and would be exposed to the IDF’s content. This was much more effective than the IDF transmitting on different frequencies or channels and trying to convince the Palestinians to tune in. Taking over Palestinian electronic media was easy. For example, the popular Al Quds station broadcast on FM frequency, 102.7 MHz, and can normally be heard not only in the Gaza Strip but in Israel as well. The IDF started its own FM transmission on exactly the same frequency once the regular Al Quds transmissions had gone silent.
Television is the most important news source for Palestinians. Al Aqsa and Al Quds TV are the two main Hamas television stations. They are strictly satellite stations that do not have any terrestrial transmitters. Both use an uplink to get their programming from the Gaza Strip up to two satellites. The IDF transmitted its own programming to the Aqsa and Quds transponders on these satellites.
IDF also broadcasted announcements warning Palestinians to stay away from Hamas facilities, or to leave certain neighborhoods where Hamas facilities were about to be bombed. Palestinians also learned of the success of Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield. The IDF urged Palestinians to rise up against Hamas. Hamas only managed a feeble response to all this by briefly interfering with two Israeli television channels. A Hamas spokesman told Palestinians not to believe the IDF’s messages, advice which was generally ignored because the Israelis would warn civilians where Israeli smart bombs were about to fall. -- Hans Johnson