From 2005 | Breaking the Barrier: A Look at All Peace Radio

By | Feb 21, 2024
Arts & Culture, From the Archive, Latest
All Peace Radio director Mossi Raz side portrait

While the Israel-Hamas conflict has deepened the sense that relationships Israel-Palestinian relations are inevitably bitter and zero-sum, it is not always the case. In 2005, Moment published an article by Sina Borkovski which discussed All Peace Radio—a station broadcast from Ramallah and run by Israelis and Palestinians. The station—which had programming in both Hebrew and Arabic—aimed to strengthen dialogue between the two peoples. This article is being republished as part of a package of stories highlighting efforts by Israelis and Palestinians to cooperate and reconcile even in the midst of Israel’s invasion of Gaza in the wake of October 7.

From 2005 | Breaking the Barrier

It started with music. Last January, a radio station based in East Jerusalem made its Internet debut, webcasting a playlist of global tunes that featured Arab and Israeli melodies. By April, the station was hosting talk radio each morning—one hour in Hebrew and one hour in Arabic. 

Run by 12 Israelis and Palestinians—technicians, producers and reporters—and broadcast 24 hours a day, All for Peace Radio is determined to instill fresh hope in two populations that have sunk into apathy and despair. Shimon Malka, the station’s Israeli director, estimates that the website attracts about 10,000 daily visitors and adds, “I hope the numbers will keep on growing as more and more people hear about us.” 

“The Equator,” a one-hour talk show, is broadcast in Hebrew and examines social and cultural aspects of life in the Palestinian Authority. Its counterpart “Muhawalat,” a daily program in Arabic, gives Palestinian listeners a perspective on Israeli social and cultural issues. A program called “Crossing Borders,” hosted by two 18-year-old girls, deals with issues of mutual interest to youth in both groups such as music, violence and drugs. “We deal with education, culture and sport, but politics is out,” explains Maisa Seniora, the station’s Palestinian manager. “You are bound to hurt someone when you deal with politics.” 

The station’s optimistic vision is all the more impressive considering the hurdles it has faced from Israeli and Palestinian officials. All for Peace Radio originally intended to broadcast via traditional radio waves, but the transmitter it ordered from Italy has been stuck in Israeli customs since last November. What seems to be a bureaucratic problem is actually a political one—the one—the Palestinian Communication Office and its Israeli counterpart refuse to communicate since, officially, there is no dialogue between political leaders on both sides.

“This is a very frustrating situation,” says Seniora. “Since these people are incapable of speaking to one another, the station is stuck as well.”

The Israeli Ministry of Communication responded to questions about the station with a calendar of committee meetings and a saga of missing permits. Malka says that at present the station is engaged in trying to purchase an alternative transmitter, a smaller one, but one that will at least allow them to finally go on the air. European officials have also been pressuring Israel to allow the station to start broadcasting.

Meanwhile, the two nongovernment organizations that founded the station—the Palestinian group Biladi (“my homeland” in Arabic) and the Israeli center Givat Haviva—continue to stand behind it. The European Union is providing 80 percent of the funding.

Malka, Seniora and their colleagues remain determined. “If there was peace, we would have no work to do,” Seniora says. “We want to reach the people on the street who are tired of this war. The bottom line is that we are all people who want to live and work and raise our children in peace.”

Editor’s Note: All for Peace Radio was shut down by the Israeli Knesset on November 17, 2011. The MK member behind the cancellation, Danny Danon, claimed that the radio station was “broadcasting into Israel illegally,”—since the station transmitted from Palestine after gaining access to a transmitter. “This illegal station was not about peace. It was about war, about incitement.” Danon told the Israeli news station Arutz Sheva—referring to the 2011 “incitement” the station created by openly supporting demonstrations which favored the Palestinian bid for United Nations statehood recognition. All for Peace Radio’s Jewish co-director Mossi Raz claimed that the station had never been asked to be licensed in Israel. “I am very concerned. There is no democracy here,” Raz said. The station’s filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Israel to challenge their cancellation—it was denied. 

This article is part of a package of stories highlighting projects committed to building a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians since October 7. Other stories in this package include:

From the Editor’s Desk: A Podcast for Those in Search of Nuance

Podcasts for Peace: Six Shows That Feature Nuanced Conversations about Israel/Palestine

Six Israeli/Palestinian Peace Projects Active Since October 7

Top Image: All for Peace Radio’s Jewish co-director Mossi Raz. (Photo credit: Naaman Saar Stavy/CC BY-ND 2.0). 

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