RAMALLAH, West Bank – Hamas militants have suspended a TV program that featured a Mickey Mouse look-alike urging Palestinian children to fight Israel and work for global Islamic domination, the Palestinian information minister said Wednesday.
Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the character — a giant black-and-white rodent with a high-pitched voice — represented a "mistaken approach" to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.
He said that the program was pulled from Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV at his ministry's request and "placed under review."
The character, named "Farfur," or "butterfly," but unmistakably a copy of the Disney character, preached against the U.S. and Israel each Friday on the show called "Tomorrow's Pioneers."
"You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists," Farfour squeaked on a recent episode. "We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness, and liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers."
Children called in to the show, many singing Hamas anthems about fighting Israel.
A spokeswoman for Burbank, Calif.-based Walt Disney Co. did not return phone calls seeking comment, and the Gaza TV station had no comment.
The program was opposed by the Palestinian Broadcasting Corp., which is controlled by the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Hamas rival that shares power with the militants in the Palestinian government.
Barghouti is an independent aligned with neither Hamas nor Fatah.
Loyalists of Hamas, which is sworn to the destruction of Israel, launched the Al-Aqsa satellite channel last year. Bearded young men read the news and Islamic music is layered over footage of masked militants firing rockets into Israel. The channel also broadcasts talk shows, programs about the disabled and cartoons.
Hamas loyalists also run at least five news Web sites, a newspaper and a radio station.