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Israel Orders Al Jazeera Shut Down, Takes Channel Off Air


Israel’s authorities have shut down Al Jazeera television network within the country, labeling it as a mouthpiece for Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the government has approved the shutdown, citing ongoing hostilities in Gaza.

On Sunday, cops conducted a raid on Al Jazeera’s office located at the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem.

Al Jazeera denied claims of being a threat to Israeli security, dismissing them as a “dangerous and ridiculous lie,” while pushing forward its intention to initiate legal cases.

Israel’s Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi confirmed the seizure of equipment during the raid, as shown in a video shared by the minister.

Despite the shutdown, Al Jazeera remains accessible in Israel via Facebook.

The decision to stop the activities of Al Jazeera has faced criticism from various human rights and press organizations.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to overturn the ban, claiming that allegations of Al Jazeera being a propaganda tool for Hamas are baseless.

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) called on the Israeli authority to reconsider its decision, expressing concern over the implications for press freedom.

Foreign journalists are not allowed to enter Gaza, making Al Jazeera staff among the few reporters on the ground.

Israeli authorities have long accused Al Jazeera of anti-Israel bias, a sentiment that has intensified since the Hamas attacks in October, resulting in casualties on both ends.

In response to the escalating war, Israel passed a law allowing the government authority to temporarily close foreign broadcasters deemed a threat to national security.

Qatar, the country where Al Jazeera is headquartered, has been mediating conversations between Israel and Hamas, with previous negotiations leading to temporary ceasefires and prisoner releases.

The media organization has accused Israel of targeting its staff, citing instances where journalists, including the son of the Gaza bureau chief, were killed in Israeli strikes. Israel denies these allegations.

“Israel’s suppression of free press to cover up its crimes by killing and arresting journalists has not deterred us from performing our duty,” the network said in its response to Sunday’s ban.

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