Thu. May 23rd, 2024

‘Criminal action’: Why Israeli police raided Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem office

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May11,2024
Key Points
  • Police have raided an Al Jazeera office in Israel after a government decision to shut down its local operations.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet says the network threatens national security.
  • Al Jazeera says it reserves the right to pursue every legal option to challenge the closure.
Israeli police have raided a Jerusalem hotel room used by news channel Al Jazeera as its de facto office following a government decision to shut down the Qatari-owned TV station’s local operations, an Israeli official and an Al Jazeera source told the Reuters news agency.
Videos circulated online showed plainclothes officers dismantling camera equipment in a hotel room. The Al Jazeera source said the hotel was in East Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet shut down the network for as long as the Hamas-Israel war continues, on the grounds the Qatari television network threatens national security.

The network has been critical of , from where it has reported around the clock throughout the war.
A government statement said Israel’s communications minister signed orders to “act immediately”, but at least one parliamentarian who supported the closure said Al Jazeera could still try to block it in court.

The measure, the statement said, will include closing Al Jazeera’s offices in Israel, confiscating broadcast equipment, cutting off the channel from cable and satellite companies and blocking its websites. It did not mention Al Jazeera’s Gaza operations.

‘Criminal action’

Al Jazeera called the move a “criminal action” and rejected the accusation the network threatened Israeli security as a “dangerous and ridiculous lie” that puts its journalists at risk.
It said that it reserved the right to pursue “all available legal channels” to challenge the shutdown.

“Al Jazeera Media Network strongly condemns and denounces this criminal act that violates human rights and the basic right to access of information,” the network said in a statement.

“Al Jazeera affirms its right to continue to provide news and information to its global audiences.”
Qatar established Al Jazeera in 1996 and views the network as a way to bolster its global profile.

The network previously called Israeli efforts to curtail its operations an “escalation” and said in a statement in early April that it “comes as part of a series of systematic Israeli attacks to silence Al Jazeera”.

It said that Israeli authorities have deliberately targeted and killed several of its journalists including Samer Abu Daqqa and Hamza Al Dahdooh, both killed in Gaza during the conflict. Israel has said it does not target journalists.
The UN Human Rights Office also criticised the closure.
“We regret [the] cabinet decision to close Al Jazeera in Israel,” it said on X.

“A free & independent media is essential to ensuring transparency & accountability. Now, even more so given tight restrictions on reporting from Gaza. Freedom of expression is a key human right. We urge govt to overturn [the] ban.”

Israel’s parliament last month ratified a law allowing the temporary closure in Israel of foreign broadcasters considered to be a threat to national security.
The law allows Netanyahu and his security cabinet to shut the network’s offices in Israel for 45 days, a period that can be renewed, so it could stay in force until the end of July or until the end of major military operations in Gaza.

Qatar, where several Hamas political leaders are based, is trying to mediate a ceasefire and hostage release deal that could halt the Gaza war.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “‘Criminal action’: Why Israeli police raided Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem office”
  1. As an avid follower of global news, I believe that freedom of the press is a fundamental pillar of democracy. The Israeli police raid on Al Jazeera’s office feels like a severe infringement on press freedom and raises concerns about censorship. It’s crucial for journalists to be able to report without fear of government interference, regardless of geopolitics.

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