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Al Jazeera Operations Shut Down by Israel, Jerusalem Office Raided

The move also threatened to rankle Qatar, Al Jazeera’s sponsor, at a time when the country is playing a key role as a mediator in cease-fire negotiations between Hamas and Israel.

Aljazeera, one of the few international broadcasters providing largely uninterrupted coverage of the Gaza war has been shut down by Netanyahu’s government on Sunday, May 5.

He said the decision he decision followed a unanimous vote by Israel’s war cabinet, posting on X that “the incitement channel Al Jazeera will be closed in Israel.” In a separate statement, he accused Al Jazeera correspondents of having “harmed the security of Israel” and said “the time has come to eject Hamas’s mouthpiece from our country.”

Israel’s actions placed it in the company of several autocratic countries in the region that have tried to stifle the network — which has attracted praise and controversy since it was founded nearly 30 years ago and helped reshape the media landscape in the Arab world.

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“This is a dark day for the media,” the board of Israel’s Foreign Press Association said in a statement. “This is a dark day for democracy.”

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The move also threatened to rankle Qatar, Al Jazeera’s sponsor, at a time when the country is playing a key role as a mediator in cease-fire negotiations between Hamas and Israel.

On Sunday afternoon, several uniformed and plainclothes Israeli officers were seen by a Washington Post reporter entering one of Al Jazeera’s offices in a hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. The officers carted out camera equipment, cases and cardboard boxes as a group of photographers looked on.

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“They confiscated the equipment and closed the office, as per the order,” Stefanie Dekker, a senior foreign correspondent for Al Jazeera English, said as she left the office, referring to the government edict shutting down the channel.

In a statement Sunday, the network criticized what it called a “deceptive and slanderous move,” occurring less than a week after World Press Freedom Day.

“Al Jazeera Media Network strongly condemns and denounces this criminal act that violates human rights and the basic right to access of information. Al Jazeera affirms its right to continue to provide news and information to its global audiences,” it said.

It added that its news websites had been blocked and some transmissions halted in Israel, while its staff had accreditations withdrawn. The network said it “vehemently rejects the allegations presented by Israeli authorities suggesting professional media standards have been violated,” and accused Israel of attempting to “conceal its actions in the Gaza Strip.”

It was not immediately clear whether the government order would affect the channel’s operations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank or the ability of visiting correspondents for the channel to remain in Israel.

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