All for Peace: A Palestinian-Israeli Radio Station
May 11, 2005
All for Peace radio station at work.
It started with music. In January 2004, a radio station based in
East Jerusalem made its debut on the Internet [www.allforpeace.org],
broadcasting a playlist of global tunes that featured Arab and
Israeli melodies. By April, the station was hosting talking radio
programs in the mornings — one hour in Hebrew and one hour in
Arabic. "We deal with education, culture and sport, but politics is
out," explains Maisa Seniora, the station's Palestinian co-
director. "You are bound to hurt someone when you deal with
politics." The station offers a range of programs for adults as well
as for young listeners.
"The equator" is a one-hour talk show broadcast in Hebrew that
examines the different social and cultural aspects of life in Israel
and the Palestinian Authority. The show lets Hebrew speaking
listeners get to know Palestinian society. Its counterpart
is "Muhawalat," another daily program. Broadcast in Arabic, it deals
with different aspects of Israeli society and gives Palestinian
listeners a perspective on Israeli life.
"Crossing Borders" is a youth program hosted by two young girls,
Neta Muray and Shireen Yassin. The show deals with the fears, dreams
and hopes of both Israeli and Palestinian youth covering issues that
affect their lives such as education, music, violence, drugs and
The station broadcasts 24 hours a day and plans to continue doing so
once they officially go on air. Run by 12 Israelis and Palestinians —
technicians, producers and reporters — All for Peace Radio is
determined to instill fresh hope in two populations that have sunk
into apathy and despair. The dual heritage of their small staff in
itself serves as an emblem of cooperation and peace.
Two organizations — the Palestinian group Biladi ("my homeland" in
Arabic) and an Israeli group called The Jewish-Arab Centre for Peace
at Givat Haviva — are partners in the project. When representatives
from the groups collaborated to found All for Peace, the European
Union believed in their dream enough to fund 80 percent of the
The station's yearly budget stands at $350,000. The Japanese embassy
in Tel-Aviv and several private organizations also support the
In a relatively short time, this small radio station has built a
reputation as a credible source of information. "While covering
recent elections in the Palestinian Authority, we interviewed both
Abu Mazen and his political rival Dr. Mustafa Barghouti," Shimon
Malka, the station's Israeli c0-director, says with pride. "We were
also approached by Israeli media for updates through our sources."
One of the most fascinating stories covered by the station concerns
a Palestinian terrorist who was on his way to launch an attack on
Israeli civilians. A sudden moment of reflection led him to the
conclusion that nothing useful would come from killing more people.
He turned back to his village and eventually started a children's
theater group. All For Peace broadcast this story around the world,
inviting the ex-terrorist in for an interview.
"We get about 10,000 daily visitors to the [Web] site," says
Malka. "I hope the numbers will keep on growing as more and more
people hear about us."
The station's optimistic vision is all the more impressive
considering the hurdles it has faced from Israeli and Palestinian
officials. The station originally intended to broadcast via
traditional radio waves, but the transmitter it ordered from Italy
has been stuck in Israeli customs since November 2003. What seems to
be a technical problem is actually a political 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. An ultimatum given by the station's management to
Israeli officials has been ignored. 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 air. European Union officials have also begun exerting their
influence to pressure Israel to allow the station to start
Even though these are not the best of times, Seniora and her
colleagues remain determined. "If there was peace, we would have no
work to do. I 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."
Sima Borkovski is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. Her
articles have been published by various Jewish publications in
Europe and the United States. She also writes for NANA
[www.nana.co.il], a news Web site in Israel.
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