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Israel Minister says ‘necessary procedures’ prepared to close Al Jazeera

February 21, 2024 at 6:15 pm

Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi on 6 January 2020 [Wikimedia]

Israeli Communications Minister, Shlomo Karhi, said Wednesday that the government has prepared the “necessary procedures” to close the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera television, Anadolu Agency reports.

This came during a session held by the National Security Committee in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to discuss a bill allowing Karhi “to order the closure of a media outlet if it is found as harming national security.”

“We prepared the necessary procedure for the closure of Al Jazeera. There are other issues that we might need to address,” he said.

The bill was approved by the government on 12 February and it passed the first reading in the Knesset.

Under the bill, the Communications Minister will be empowered to shut down foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if the Defence Minister identifies that their broadcast poses “an actual harm to the state’s security”.

Kahri has earlier accused the Qatari news channel of working against Israel’s defence interests and fuelling anti-Israel sentiment.

“We managed to amend emergency regulations in an unprecedented manner, and we put them to use – we closed [Lebanese channel] Al Mayadeen,” a Knesset statement quoted Kahri as saying.

“These media outlets incite against Israel, and are the feeding tube for Israel’s Arab citizens and those in the Palestinian Authority,” he added.

Al Jazeera has an office in Israel and a team of correspondents working year-round, including covering Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 29,300 people since 7 October.

READ: In direct targeting of journalists, Israel destroys Press House in Gaza