Al Jazeera’s Israeli HQ Raided By Police After Netanyahu Called It “Hamas Mouthpiece”

On 5th May the offices of Al Jazeera in Jerusalem were raided by Israeli police, after the Knesset voted unanimously voted to ban the Qatar-based news network.

The Israeli order effectively shuts down all Al Jazeera broadcasts in Israel and the West Bank. To implement the ban, authorities confiscated equipment at the channel’s Jerusalem HQ inside the Ambassador Hotel.

Additionally Israel will block Al Jazeera’s website after PM Netanyahu alleged that it is a “Hamas mouthpiece.” He has further claimed that the outlet’s coverage of Gaza has put Israeli troops in danger.

“Al Jazeera reporters harmed Israel’s security and incited against soldiers,” Netanyahu said previously. He has for weeks been mounting a public campaign against it.

Al Jazeera has responded by calling the claim a “dangerous and ridiculous lie” and further said “pursue every legal step” to fight being shut down by Israel.

Interestingly, last year the Biden administration also began complaining about the channel’s coverage, with an October Axios report saying that Secretary of State Antony Blinken requested that the Qataris “turn down the volume on Al Jazeera’s coverage because it is full of anti-Israel incitement.”

The outlet has said in a statement, “Israel’s ongoing suppression of the free press, seen as an effort to conceal its actions in the Gaza Strip, stands in contravention of international and humanitarian law.”

According to a review by Axios:

Israel’s legislative body, the Knesset, passed a measure last month that empowers Israel’s communications minister to take action against any foreign media network that it can prove poses a national security risk.

The law gives senior government officials power to temporarily shutter foreign news networks on national security grounds for at least 45 days, but that period can be extended.

Almost two years ago, in May of 2022, a popular senior Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was shot dead while reporting on the scene of an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. As a Palestinian Christian, she was given a church burial attended by thousands, but the procession with the coffin was later attacked by Israeli police, in an incident that garnered international media attention.

Abu Akleh also held American citizenship, and so her killing resulted in strong statements of condemnation from the White House. From there, tensions between Al Jazeera and the Israeli government have only gotten worse.

Al Jazeera has long had offices in the West Bank and Gaza, and has provided 24-hour news coverage in English and Arabic of the Gaza war going back to Oct.7. The network’s website also carries frequent, round-the-clock updates of regional developments. Its camera crews have also been capturing Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip in real time, sometimes with buildings coming down in the very moments live shots are rolling.


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