Why Netanyahu cabinet voted to end Al Jazeera's operations in Israel amidst Gaza war - Hindustan Times

Why Netanyahu cabinet voted to end Al Jazeera's operations in Israel amidst Gaza war

ByShweta Kukreti
May 05, 2024 06:15 PM IST

Israel has decided to end Al Jazeera's operations in Israel amidst its ongoing war against Hamas.

Israel has decided to end Al Jazeera's operations in the country amidst its ongoing war against Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu(AP file photo)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu(AP file photo)

Following the cabinet meeting, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi signed the directives formally prohibiting the Qatar-owned news outlet in Israel.

In a video that was uploaded on social media site X, Karhi declared, "Anyone who incites against the State of Israel... will no longer broadcast from Israel here, and his equipment will be confiscated."

The announcement comes as a significant move taken by the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu-led government amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

In a post on X, Netanyahu revealed the decision taken by his cabinet, without providing details about its impact on Al Jazeera, the timeline for implementation, or whether the ban would be permanent or temporary.

“The government headed by me unanimously decided: the incitement channel Al Jazeera will be closed in Israel. Thanks to the minister @shlomo_karhi,” the Israeli PM wrote on X.

What is the reason behind Israel's decision?

The action was taken in response to a law passed by the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, in April that gave the cabinet the power to stop foreign broadcasts in Israel if Israeli security services and Netanyahu deem that they pose a threat to national security.

Al Jazeera has long been accused by Israel of having a close relationship with Hamas and of taking a pro-Palestinian attitude while reporting on Israel's activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, the outlet has denied the allegations. The move comes at a time when Qatar is assisting other nations to broker a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.

Also Read: Sen. Ron Johnson says US must let Israel ‘destroy’ Hamas, keep Palestinian children 'bottled up' in Gaza

A look at the order signed by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi

According to a decree signed by Shlomo Karhi, Israel will seize equipment "used to deliver the channel's content," including servers, computers, editing, cameras, microphones and routing equipment. The authorities are also allowed to seize wireless transmission devices and some cell phones.

“Our orders will go into effect immediately. Too much time has passed and there have been too many unnecessary legal hurdles in order to finally stop the well-oiled incitement machine of Al Jazeera, which harms the security of the state,” Karhi stated after signing the orders.

“For months I have done everything so that they will not be able to work from Israel any more.”

Al Jazeera, which is among one of the few international media outlets to remain in Gaza during the war, accused Israel of committing crimes while releasing graphic footage of airstrikes and crowded hospitals.

On Sunday, Al Jazeera's Arabic news channel confirmed the Israeli move during its broadcast. The English section of Al Jazeera continued to broadcast live footage from East Jerusalem just minutes after Netanyahu's announcement.

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