LONDON: Israel has taken a step to stop news network Al Jazeera’s operations within the country, Middle East Eye reported on Wednesday, citing Israeli media.
The move came after Israeli attorney general, Gali Baharav-Miara, approved on Tuesday emergency regulations that will prevent the Qatari news outlet from working in Israel.
In a joint decision, Baharav-Miara, and Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi finalized the wording of the regulations, aimed at curtailing Al Jazeera’s reporting on the ground in Israel.
While details have yet to be disclosed, the decision follows numerous reports suggesting that Karhi intended to close Al Jazeera’s bureau in the country.
In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Sunday, Karhi described the network as “a propaganda mouthpiece” for Hamas and of exposing Israeli soldiers to potential attack from Gaza. Al Jazeera has so far not commented.
But Mona Shtaya, a Palestinian advocate for digital rights, told Doha News that barring Al Jazeera could damage the impartiality of the information coming from Gaza and may be an attempt by Israel to control the narrative.
Israel’s government has consistently expressed discontent with Al Jazeera’s reporting on the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
Given its physical presence in both Israel and Gaza and the limitations on international travel and access to the strip, Al Jazeera remains among the few media outlets capable of providing on-the-ground news coverage of Israeli bombardments in the area.
Al Jazeera has had a strained relationship with Israel, particularly highlighted by the death of American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Al Jazeera correspondent who was shot while covering an Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp in May 2022.
Despite clear evidence from subsequent investigations contradicting their claims, Israel consistently denied involvement. It later conceded that while Abu Akleh was likely killed by Israeli fire, her death was unintentional.