Fur flies over Al-Aqsa TV’s Farfur

Channel shelves anti-Israeli Mickey knock-off

The Palestinian government has overthrown Hamas’ puppet regime. Well, at least one of them.

Minister of Information Mustafa Barghouti has ordered execs at Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV to shelve “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” a kiddie skein hosted by Farfur, a character bearing an uncanny resemblance to Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse.

The show drew the ire of Israelis and moderate Palestinians alike because of its firebrand sermonizing mixed in with reminders for kids to drink their milk.

“It was wrong to use a program directed at children to convey political messages,” says Barghouti.

Execs at Disney had stayed notably quiet about their reaction to the misappropriation of their beloved character. But their options were limited, given the increasingly lawless nature of Gaza, where Al-Aqsa TV is officially based. Local sources claim the channel also broadcasts out of Damascus.

Originally launched by Hamas in January 2006 in an attempt to replicate the success of Hezbollah’s Al-Manar satcaster, Al-Aqsa was shut down weeks later by the rival and, at the time, ruling Fatah faction. Since then, the web has relaunched with mixed results, and largely failed to appeal to auds beyond its core constituency.

The Farfur fuss comes just after Palestinian and Israeli versions of “Sesame Street” were relaunched in April, with a view to promoting better understanding.

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