Gaza: Hamas's television station defied the Hamas-led Palestinian government yesterday by airing another weekly episode of a show featuring a Mickey Mouse lookalike who urges children to support armed resistance against Israel.
Tomorrow's Pioneers on Al Aqsa Television has a central character named "Farfur", an actor dressed in a full body-suit to resemble the Walt Disney cartoon character.
Following complaints by Israeli watchdog groups that triggered international scrutiny, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said he had asked Al Aqsa to stop the broadcasts so the content could be reviewed.
Despite Barghouti's call, Tomorrow's Pioneers went on the air as usual on Friday.
During one scene, Farfur told young viewers he aspired to be like the slain spiritual leaders of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood.
A young girl, who identified herself as Amani, called in to the show to sing a popular Hamas song.
"[Occupied] Jerusalem we are coming. We will not rest and we will not be humiliated," Amani sang as Farfur danced on a stage decorated with drawings, including one of a rocket.
An official in Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said the show incited hostility towards Israel among Palestinian children.
"Hamas saw a great opportunity to spew even more hatred for Israel and to continue to sow the seeds of animosity in their own children, while instilling in them violence and a love of the sword," the official, David Baker, said.
In previous shows, Farfur has called for Israel to be vanquished and Islam to "lead the world".
The show, broadcast on Fridays, features a young girl in a head covering and an adult moderator who instructs young viewers on Hamas's brand of Muslim piety.
Hazin Al Sharawi, the adult moderator, said during the show that "the Jews, the Jews don't like Palestinians".
Fat'hi Hammad, chairman of Al Aqsa Television, defended the show: "It does not violate any moral or professional standard," he told a Hamas website, adding it would not be withdrawn or its content changed.
Palestinian political analyst Hani Habib said the Al Aqsa show was a Hamas recruitment tool.
"This programme markets death when a child is supposed to have a long future to come."
But 10-year-old fan Hanin said the show was mostly educational.
"The show teaches us to recite the Quran, to pray and to speak in formal Arabic. We want the show to continue."