Netanyahu bans Al Jazeera operations in Israel and the occupied territories on the eve of relaunching his war on Gaza!

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THE Netanyahu government has decided to close Al Jazeera’s channel in Israel and to ban it from the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Cabinet vote yesterday came after Israel’s parliament passed a law allowing the temporary closure in Israel of foreign broadcasters considered to be a threat to national security, on the eve of a new Israeli assault on Gaza. Netanyahu has decided not just to outlaw Al Jazeera but also to ban any sections of the Western media who insist on telling the truth about the Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu announced the decision on X, formerly Twitter. ‘The government, headed by me, unanimously decided: The incitement channel Al Jazeera will be closed in Israel,’ he posted in Hebrew.

Netanyahu has taken the black-out decision after the Hamas national liberation movement said that it would not accept a truce deal that did not completely end the Israeli regime’s nearly seven-month-long genocidal war against the Gaza Strip.

At least 34,654 people have died in Gaza since October 7, when the Israeli regime began the war in response to the al-Aqsa Storm, a retaliatory operation by the coastal sliver’s resistance groups.

The Hamas official said the group would ‘not agree under any circumstances’ to a truce that did not explicitly include a complete end to the war, including the regime’s withdrawal from Gaza. He said the regime was trying to secure a deal that would enable the release of those who were taken captive during al-Aqsa Storm ‘without linking it to ending the aggression on Gaza’.

The official, meanwhile added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was ‘personally hindering’ efforts to reach a truce due to ‘personal interests’.

The comments echoed those made by Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’ Political Bureau, to the agency a day earlier.

Badran had condemned Netanyahu for stonewalling a deal, saying the Israeli premier’s insistence on carrying out a ground invasion against the southern Gaza city of Rafah was the key stumbling block in negotiations aimed at the potential arrival at an agreement.

Around 1.5 million Palestinians have sought refuge in the city from the ravages of the war.

The Israeli official has said the regime would go ahead with invading the city, ‘with or without’ a truce.

The ban decision escalates Israel’s long-running feud against Al Jazeera. It also threatens to heighten tensions with Qatar, which funds the media network, at a time when Doha is playing a key role in mediation efforts to halt the war in Gaza.

Al Jazeera is one of the few international media outlets to remain in Gaza throughout the war, broadcasting bloody scenes of airstrikes and overcrowded hospitals, and exposing Israeli massacres.

Last month, Netanyahu had vowed to ‘act immediately to stop’ Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel after its parliament approved a law that grants senior ministers powers to shut down foreign news networks deemed a security risk. ‘Al Jazeera harmed Israel’s security, actively participated in the October 7 massacre, and incited against Israeli soldiers,’ Netanyahu had posted on X.

The network accused Netanyahu of ‘incitement’ and said it holds the Israeli leader ‘responsible for the safety of its staff and network premises around the world, following his incitement and this false accusation in a disgraceful manner’.

Meanwhile, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has said the violent crackdown on pro-Palestine student demonstrations in Western universities, particularly in the United States, exposes the Western system’s ‘state of panic’.

During a meeting of the Central Command of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party in Damascus on Saturday, Assad highlighted that the ‘image of a wonderful and amazing West’ has now started to ‘deteriorate’ among the Western citizens.

‘Therefore, we see the brutal repression that we have not seen before in the universities. (…) The truth is that this unprecedented brutal repression that we see expresses a state of panic for the Western system in general.’

Over the past few weeks, US campuses have become the battleground for demonstrations against the Israel war on Gaza, resulting in a series of tense and occasionally violent encounters.

The US, EU and UK trade unions must now intervene in this crisis to insist that all arms supplies to Israel are halted at once. They must call general strikes to achieve this aim by bringing down the Western capitalist regimes and replacing them with workers governments.