Netanyahu Bans Al Jazeera

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Al Jazeera Gaza bureau head Wael Dahdouh holds the hand of his photographer son, Hamza, who was killed along with 3 other members of his family in a targeted Israeli airstrike

IRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted unanimously to close Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel yesterday.

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

The 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 air attacks and overcrowded hospitals, and accusing Israel of massacres.

Last month, Netanyahu said he would ‘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.

The network accused Netanyahu of ‘incitement’, holding 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’.

Hamas said: ‘The closure of Al Jazeera TV is a repressive measure and retaliation for the channel’s professional role in exposing the crimes and violations of the occupation in Gaza and the West Bank,’ it said.

Al-Jazeera journalist Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Rafah, southern Gaza, said: ‘This is the last episode in what seems to be the suppression of any criticism of what’s going on on the ground across the Gaza Strip.

‘We’ve documented the atrocities, the genocidal acts, the spread of famine and acts that go against international human rights law and against all the international norms in terms of conducting war or warfare, and that is something that did not really sit well with the Israeli government.

‘The ban is largely perceived by people here as a way to suppress this voice that has amplified the voices of the oppressed and amplified the voices of people under occupation to the outside world.

‘People see it as a desperate move to prevent fair coverage of what’s going on on the ground.’

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