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Israel Passes Law To Ban Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera newsroom (Photo: Wikimedia)

The Israeli Parliament has passed a law that has paved the way for shutting down Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday called it a “terror channel” that spreads incitement.

“Al Jazeera harmed Israel’s security, actively participated in the October 7 massacre, and incited against Israeli soldiers. It is time to remove the bullhorn of Hamas from our country,” Netanyahu said on X, formerly Twitter.

The move is likely to heighten tensions with Qatar, which owns the channel, at a time when Doha is playing a key role in ceasefire negotiations and has financial heft in the region

The broadcaster has termed Netanyahu’s incitement as a “dangerous lie.” It added that the prime minister was responsible for the safety of its staff and offices, and that it would continue what it described as its bold and professional coverage.

Tel Aviv has had a rocky relationship with the tv channel and has repeatedly accused it of bias. The relationship nosedived when Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was killed during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank.

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In December, an Israeli strike killed an Al Jazeera cameraman as he reported on the war in southern Gaza. The channel’s bureau chief in Gaza, Wael Dahdouh, was injured in the same attack. Israeli forces have killed Dahdouh’s wife, daughter and another son along with his grandson in the strike.

The Doha-based channel is one of the few international media outlets who have remained in Gaza and covered the airstrikes and overcrowded hospitals in Gaza.

The news channel has been closed or blocked by other governments in the region including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

In Washington, the US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the U.S. does not always agree with the channel’s coverage, but respects its work.

With inputs from AP