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Benjamin Netanyahu Shuts Down Al-Jazeera’s Operation In Israel: Critics Call It “A Dark Day For Democracy”

On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu proposed to his cabinet to shut down the Qatar-backed news channel Al-Jazeera’s operation in Israel. This move was favored by all members of his cabinet and was to take effect immediately. The news channel issued a statement calling Israel’s move a “criminal act” and threatened to use all “legal channels.”

Al-Jazeera is one of the few news portals delivering on-the-ground aftermath of Israel’s attack in Gaza. It has contributed to the awareness of people all over the world on Israel’s merciless massacre in the occupied West Bank. 

However, on Sunday, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, decided to end Al-Jazeera’s broadcast inside Israel according to a law passed a month earlier. The law suggests that the Prime Minister holds the power to cut off any foreign broadcasting channel if it poses a threat to national security. 

Netanyahu’s office posted on X, “The government headed by me unanimously decided: the incitement channel Al-Jazeera will be closed in Israel.” The same day in the afternoon, police raided Al-Jazeera’s office to confiscate equipment used to communicate and deliver the news.

UN secretary general Stephanie Dujarric condemned Israel’s action, saying, “As we have said before, we stand firmly against any decision to roll back freedom of the press. A free press provides an invaluable service ensuring the public is informed and engaged.”

Israel’s President claims that Al-Jazeera is dangerous to Israel’s security. Hence, access to the news portal through websites and cable TV has been blocked. The Ministry of Communication also stated: “The Israeli Ministry of Communications said Sunday it had closed the network’s Jerusalem offices and confiscated its communication equipment. “In addition, the network’s broadcasts on cable and satellite were stopped, and access to its websites was blocked.

Al-Jazeera spoke out on the issue, “In accordance with the government’s decision, Al Jazeera channel broadcasts were stopped in Israel.” The statement further adds, “Israel’s suppression of the free press to cover up its crimes by killing and arresting journalists did not deter us from performing our duty. More than 140 Palestinian journalists have been martyred for the sake of the truth since the beginning of the war on Gaza.”

Israel has had a feud with Al-Jazeera for a long time, claiming the news agency is nothing but a “mouthpiece for Hamas.” As the support for Gaza is growing around the world, Israel is having a difficult time calming down its own civilians, who are also asking for a ceasefire immediately.

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