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Israel bans Al Jazeera with immediate effect

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet has voted to shut down Al Jazeera in the country, using a new law approved by parliament last month to ban the Qatar-owned broadcaster over its Gaza coverage.

Netanyahu’s cabinet approved the ban in an unanimous vote on Sunday, according to a government statement. Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi then signed an executive order to implement the ban, effective immediately.

“Al Jazeera correspondents have harmed the security of Israel and incited against IDF soldiers,” Netanyahu said. “The time has come to eject Hamas’s mouthpiece from our country.”

The decision, which will have to be recertified every 45 days, gives authorities the power to close Al Jazeera’s offices in Israel, seize equipment used for broadcasting (except phones and computers), shut down television broadcasts and limit access to its websites.

“Our orders will go into effect immediately,” Karhi said. “Too much time has passed and too many unnecessary legal hurdles for us to finally stop Al Jazeera’s oiled incitement machine that harms the security of the country.”

Karhi added: “For months I’ve done everything and I’ll continue to do everything to make sure they can no longer operate from Israel.”

Al Jazeera has intensively covered the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, including coverage of civilian casualties but also views deemed hostile to Israel or favorable to Hamas, the militant group which carried out the October 7 attack against Israel.

Al Jazeera has denied those allegations as “ludicrous” and accused Israeli officials of incitement against its journalists.

“Al Jazeera reiterates that such slanderous accusations will not deter us from continuing our bold and professional coverage, and reserves the right to pursue every legal step,” the network said in a statement last month, when the law passed parliament.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) expressed concern about the law, which could also be used against other foreign media outlets in the future. “This contributes to a climate of self-censorship and hostility toward the press,” the group said.

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