The Israeli Cabinet approved emergency regulations on Friday to temporarily shut down the Al Jazeera news network’s operations in the country.
The measures will enable authorities to order television providers to stop broadcasting the outlet; close its offices in Israel; seize its equipment; shut down its website; and revoke press credentials for staff.
“Israel is at war. On land, in the air, at sea, and in the mind. We will in no way allow broadcasts that harm the security of the state,” said Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, who initiated the move.
“Al Jazeera’s broadcasts and reports constitute incitement against Israel, serving Hamas-Daesh [ISIS] in propaganda and encouraging violence against Israel, thereby actually harming the security of the state,” he added.
No move to close down Al Jazeera’s operations will be made until Karhi reviews its coverage of the war. A final decision will require the approval of Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
Al Jazeera is accused of endangering Israeli soldiers by exposing details of where forces are assembling. The Mossad has backed Karhi’s effort, saying the Arab news channel is a threat to Israel’s security.
Al Jazeera responded: “Israel accuses us of what we are not. Since the beginning of the war, we have broadcast all the press conferences of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, Gallant and the [IDF] chief of staff. The images we broadcast are the same images that Israel broadcasts. We have never acted against censorship, we make sure to correspond with the army.”
Three years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice determined that Al Jazeera Plus (AJ+), a subsidiary of the Al Jazeera Media Network, is engaged in “political activities” related to the government of Qatar and directed the outlet to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
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