The government has approved an order to close the Al-Jazeera office in Israel

Al-Jazeera. Wikipedia, Kai Hendry

On Sunday, the government of Israel approved the proposal of Minister of Communications Shlomo Kare’i regarding the closure of the offices of Al-Jazeera in Israel. This decision has been advanced for several months, but was delayed due to legal constraints, and due to the fear of damaging the negotiations to release the hostages managed by Qatar, the channel’s central sponsor. In recent weeks, the mediator’s responsibility has been transferred to Egypt and Qatar has left the war picture (with reports of Hamas leaders’ planning to depart from it), so this consideration has dissipated. At the same time, the Knesset passed an official law giving the Cabinet the authority to issue an order to close channels that harm Israel’s national security.

Al-Jazeera is the largest news and content channel in the Arab world, and is largely used as its face and ambassador to the Western world. The channel has always taken a clear anti-Israel line, but in the last war all the borders were crossed – with blatant lies against Israel to the point of incitement, promoting Israel’s accusation of war crimes, and spreading Hamas’s narrative to billions of people around the world. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the discovery that many Al-Jazeera reporters in the Gaza Strip worked in cooperation with Hamas, and some even penetrated Israel in 7/10 along with the terrorists. During this period, Al-Jazeera news teams were operating in Israeli territory unhindered.

The order stops and blocks Al Jazeera’s ability to photograph, broadcast and edit content in Israel and the territories under its control (such as Judea and Samaria). The offices of the channel in Jerusalem’s technological garden were closed after a police raid, and Internet providers were instructed to prevent access to the channel’s websites or sites linked to it. In addition, the Minister of Communications asked the large social networks to act in the spirit of the order and to remove the channel’s content for Israeli consumers.

The order will be valid for 45 days, and there will be an extension capability – which will probably be activated at least until the end of the war. According to Netanyahu, “Al-Jazeera’s reporters have damaged Israel’s security and incited against IDF soldiers. It is time to remove the Hamas propogandists from our country.”

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