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Israel Orders Closure of Al Jazeera’s Local Operations Amid Gaza Conflict

In a unanimous decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted on Sunday to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel for the duration of the conflict in Gaza, citing concerns over national security. Netanyahu announced the decision via social media, denouncing Al Jazeera as an “incitement channel”.

The measure includes closing down Al Jazeera’s offices, confiscating its broadcast equipment, disconnecting the channel from cable and satellite providers, and blocking its websites. This action comes amid Al Jazeera’s critical coverage of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, which has heightened tensions between the network and the Israeli government.

The Qatari-funded news network has vehemently rejected accusations of being a threat to Israel’s security, asserting that the shutdown is an attempt to suppress its reporting. This move underscores the ongoing friction between Al Jazeera and the Israeli authorities, with the network’s reporting often drawing criticism from Israeli officials.

Israel’s parliament recently passed a law allowing for the temporary closure of foreign broadcasters deemed to pose a national security risk. The decision to target Al Jazeera falls under this law, providing Netanyahu and his security cabinet with the authority to shut down the network’s offices in Israel for 45 days, with the possibility of an extension. As such, the shutdown could remain in effect until the end of July or until major military operations in Gaza conclude.

Al Jazeera has yet to issue an official response to the closure, but the network’s coverage of the Gaza conflict and its critical stance on Israeli policies have contributed to escalating tensions between the two parties.

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