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Israeli Parliament Passes Bill To Ban Al Jazeera

Law passed 71 to 10 in its 2nd, 3rd readings in Knesset; US describes passage of bill as ‘concerning’

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Israel’s Knesset on Monday passed legislation allowing the closure of the Al Jazeera television.

The law was passed 71 to 10 in its second and third readings in the Knesset plenum.

The first reading of the bill was passed on Feb. 12.

Under the bill, the communications minister will be empowered to shut down foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if the defense minister identifies that their broadcast poses “an actual harm to the state’s security.”

Following the passage of the law, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi vowed that the Qatari-funded Al Jazeera channel would be closed down “in the coming days.”

Early Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “immediately act to close Al Jazeera” following the bill’s passage in the Knesset.

The US described the passage of the bill to close Al Jazeera as “concerning.”

“We believe in the freedom of the press. It is critical. It is critically important. And the United States supports the critically important work journalists around the world do and that includes those who are reporting in the conflict in Gaza,” White House Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing.

Al Jazeera has an office in Israel and a team of correspondents working year-round, including covering Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, which has killed nearly 32,850 people since Oct. 7, 2023.


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