Netanyahu revives moves to shut Qatar's Al Jazeera TV in Israel

Israel has previously accused the channel of working with Hamas in the Gaza war

Published : 1 April 2024, 11:29 AM
Updated : 1 April 2024, 11:29 AM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived moves on Monday to shut down Qatari satellite television station Al Jazeera in Israel, saying through his party spokesperson that parliament would be convened in the evening to ratify the necessary law.

Thereafter, Netanyahu "will take immediate action to shut down Al Jazeera in accordance with procedure set out in the law," the Likud party statement said. Israel has previously accused the station of agitating against it among Arab viewers.

There was no immediate comment from the station's main office or the Qatari government in Doha.

Israeli officials have long complained about Al Jazeera's coverage but stopped short of taking action, mindful of Qatar's bankrolling of Palestinian construction projects in the Gaza Strip - seen by all sides as a means of staving off conflict.

Since the Gaza war that erupted on Oct 7 with a cross-border killing and kidnapping rampage by the enclave's dominant Hamas Islamists, Doha has mediated ceasefire talks under which Israel recovered some of those taken hostage.

Negotiations on a second proposed truce appear to be going nowhere, however. In January, Netanyahu publicly called for the Qataris to be pressed into applying more pressure on Hamas. Qatar hosts the group's political office and several top Hamas officials.

Meanwhile, Israeli views on Al Jazeera have hardened. Israel's communications minister accused the station on Oct 15 of pro-Hamas incitement and exposing Israeli troops to ambushes. Al Jazeera and the Doha government did not respond to those allegations.

The following month, however, Israel appeared to spare the Qatari station, instead ordering the shutting down of the local broadcasts of a smaller Lebanese pro-Iranian channel, Al Mayadeen, under emergency media regulations.