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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Pushes Legislation to Shut Down Al Jazeera

Netanyahu has long sought to shutter broadcasts from the Qatari-based media outlet, alleging anti-Israel bias.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to “act immediately to stop” Al Jazeera’s operations in the country after the Israeli parliament approved a law that grants senior ministers powers to shut down foreign news networks deemed a security risk.

“Al Jazeera will no longer be broadcast from Israel”, Netanyahu wrote in a post on X after the law was approved on Monday. “I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activity.”

Netanyahu has long sought to shutter broadcasts from the Qatari-based media outlet, alleging anti-Israel bias.

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The law, which passed with 70 votes in favour and 10 against, gives the prime minister and the communications minister the authority to order the closure of foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if it is believed that they pose “harm to the state’s security”.

The return of the legislation to the Israeli parliament comes nearly five months after Israel said it would block Lebanese outlet Al Mayadeen.

With the start of the war in October, Israel’s government had passed wartime regulations allowing it to temporarily close foreign media deemed a threat to its national interests with the consent of the courts.

It refrained from shuttering Al Jazeera at the same time. However, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said at the time that he hoped the measures would be used against Qatar-owned Al Jazeera.

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One of the few international media channels to broadcast live from Gaza during Israel’s ongoing war in the besieged enclave, Karhi accused the outlet of pro-Hamas bias and incitement against Israel.

Israel has often lashed out at Al Jazeera, which has offices in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. In May 2022, Israeli forces shot dead senior Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while she was covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin.

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