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Israel has enacted a new law that will result in the shutdown of the Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera.

The legislation, approved on Monday, allows for the temporary ban of foreign news outlets deemed by the government to pose a national security threat. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly announced his intention to apply this law specifically against Al Jazeera, accusing it of supporting Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 and acting as a spokesperson for the group, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States.

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In a post on X, Netanyahu said, “The terrorist channel Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel. I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activity.” The law, which passed in the Knesset by a significant margin of 71-10 votes, permits the government to halt the operations of such media houses for 45 days, with the option for renewal. This legislative action will expire on July 31, hinting at a temporary yet renewable mechanism for controlling foreign media presence within the nation’s borders.

Al Jazeera’s coverage of Israel, especially following the October 7 war with Hamas, has been criticized by both Israeli and US officials. This criticism led to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the Qatari government to “moderate” the network’s “anti-Israel content.” Despite these international concerns, the Biden administration has voiced apprehension about the passage of the Israeli law, stressing the importance of press freedom as a fundamental democratic principle.

The law’s enactment has been fueled by further allegations from Israeli officials regarding Al Jazeera’s direct support for Hamas, including broadcasting “propaganda” and allegedly relaying “sensitive information to the enemy.” One notable accusation involves Al Jazeera journalist Ismail Abu Omar, labeled a Hamas “operative” by the Israeli military and injured in an Israeli airstrike earlier this year.


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