Israel extends Al Jazeera ban by 45 days after cabinet agrees broadcasts ‘threaten national security’ News
Clema12, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Israel extends Al Jazeera ban by 45 days after cabinet agrees broadcasts ‘threaten national security’

The Israeli Ministry of Communications on Sunday announced an extension to the ban on broadcasts/news channel Al Jazeera to 45 days after unanimous support by the government. The initial ban was made public on May 5 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Al Jazeera of instigating and inciting violence in the ongoing war between Israel and Palestine.

The Tel Aviv District Court upheld Israel’s ban on the Al Jazeera network last week, stating there was “no room for doubt” about the relationship between the Qatari network and Hamas. The court noted that Al Jazeera’s argument for freedom of expression was unconvincing, emphasizing that when there is significant harm to state security, freedom of speech becomes a “secondary consideration”.

Minister Shlomo Karhi labeled Al Jazeera a “terrorist channel” that poses a threat to the national security of Israel while expressing optimism that the ban would be extended again in the future. Karhi noted that the law authorizes the Communications Minister to take such action against foreign broadcasters.

In a separate X post, while replicating with an Israeli journalist on the extension, the minister argued that a strong reason for the decision was the security of Israeli soldiers. In October Al Jazeera came to criticism of exposing details of where Israeli forces were assembling, while in February the IDF accused a reporter of being a Hamas commander.

The US State Department had reacted to the decision with concern, at a time when reports show that more than 100 journalists have been killed by the IDF since October 7, and repressive laws have been passed by the government of Israel.

The ongoing strained relationship between Israel and the international network poses a threat to the relationship between Qatar and Israel, at a time when Doha is playing a key role in the negotiations to stop the war in Gaza.