Netanyahu Seeks Knesset Approval to Close Al Jazeera’s Israel Operations

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed Ofir Katz, the chairman of Israel’s ruling coalition in the Knesset, to expedite a legislative process that could lead to the closure of Al Jazeera’s operations within the country. This move aligns with Israel’s broader strategy to regulate foreign media entities deemed detrimental to national security.

According to Burkina Information Agency, Netanyahu’s initiative targets a specific bill permitting the Israeli government to cease the operations and broadcasts of any foreign media outlet that is found to undermine the country’s security. The proposed legislation, already past its first reading on February 12, is slated for its second and third readings on April 1. Should it be enacted, Netanyahu plans to promptly initiate the closure of the Qatari-based broadcaster, Al Jazeera, within Israeli jurisdiction.

The bill delineates that the Israeli communications minister, upon recommendation from the Defense Ministry, may determine the cessation of any foreign media body’s activities in Israel if they are adjudged to inflict “real harm to state security.” This legislative effort follows the Israeli government’s adoption of measures on October 20, 2023, which facilitate the expedited shutdown of foreign media operations under national security pretenses. Additionally, on November 13, 2023, Israel’s security cabinet enacted emergency regulations to interrupt broadcasts from foreign news outlets considered hostile.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is recuperating in the hospital following hernia surgery. Despite his hospitalization, he remains actively engaged in his official duties, overseeing government functions and maintaining communications. Netanyahu is anticipated to be discharged from the hospital on April 2, resuming his full range of leadership responsibilities.

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