Israel passes law to ban Qatari-funded Al Jazeera, PM Netanyahu calls it ‘terrorist channel’

NewsBharati    02-Apr-2024 11:12:06 AM
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Jerusalem, April 2: In a significant development, the Israeli Parliament has passed a law giving the government the power to ban broadcasts of TV channels including Al Jazeera, the Qatari-owned network. Speaking on the same, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Qatari-funded Al Jazeera will no longer be allowed to broadcast from Israel.

benjamin netanyahu al jazeera

"Terror channel": Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the "terror channel" harmed Israel's security and actively participated in the October 7, and vowed to act immediately to ban the channel.

Taking to X, he said,
“Al Jazeera harmed Israel's security, actively participated in the October 7 massacre, and incited against IDF soldiers. It is time to remove the shofar of Hamas from our country. 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". 

"I welcome the law promoted by Communications Minister Shlomo Karai with the support of coalition members led by coalition chairman Ofir Katz," he added.

This came after the House of representatives in Israel, Knesset passed a law on 1st April that gave the government temporary powers to prevent foreign news networks from operating in Israel. The government can ban the channel if it believes its presence in the country harms national security. The law was passed 71 to 10 in its second and third readings.

It is pertinent to mention that the channel will be shut down for 45 days, and the ban can be renewed. The ban is expected to stay in force at least till the end of July or until the major military operation against Hamas in Gaza ends.

"Slanderous accusations": Al Jazeera

Reacting to the ban, the Qatar-based network rejected what it described as “slanderous accusations” and accused Netanyahu of “incitement”. "Al Jazeera holds the Israeli Prime Minister responsible for the safety of its staff and Network premises around the world, following his incitement and this false accusation in a disgraceful manner," it said in a statement.

“Al Jazeera reiterates that such slanderous accusations will not deter us from continuing our bold and professional coverage, and reserves the right to pursue every legal step," it added. 

"Concerning for us"

The United States of America also reacted to the ban. Following the law’s passage, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed concerns during a press briefing. She said,
“We believe in the freedom of the press. It is critically important. The United States supports the critically important work journalists around the world do, and that includes those who are reporting on the conflict in Gaza. If those reports are true, it is concerning to us.” 

According to Israel, Al Jazeera has peddled lies and misinformation about the Hamas terror attack against the Israel on October 7, 2023. At least 1,300 people, including some foreign nationals, babies, women and senior citizens, died in the attacks. More than 200 were abducted and taken to Gaza.