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Al Jazeera Could Be Removed From Israel Under Proposed New Law

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A cloud of potential media censorship is looming over Israel following recent moves that hint at a possible banning of Qatar-based global broadcaster Al Jazeera. Fresh emergency regulations were approved that may curtail the media outreach of the network, which Israel perceives as biased, serving enemies’ propaganda, and hence threatening its national security.

The spark for these new regulations was kindled by Shlomo Karhi, the Israeli Communications Minister, who had proposed them earlier in the week. The regulations empower officials to seize broadcast equipment and suspend media broadcasts if they suspect an outlet is jeopardizing national security, disrupting public order, or peddling enemy propaganda. Both Karhi and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara have greenlighted these regulations, generating a significant potential threat to the Israeli operations of Al Jazeera. The media giant presently boasts some of the few international operations in both Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The relationship between Al Jazeera and Israel has undulated over the years. Being a key player on the international news scene since its debut in 1996, thanks to support from the Qatari government, Al Jazeera has often been targeted with criticism and attempts at censorship by the Israeli authorities.

Previous altercations resulted in Israel labeling Al Jazeera as a “tool of Hamas,” the authoritarian and often terroristic Palestinian group controlling Gaza, and instituting a boycott of the station in 2008. These accusations were rebuffed by the Jerusalem bureau chief of Al Jazeera.

In 2017, Israel broadcasted its intentions to shut the Jerusalem office of Al Jazeera down, pulling the plug on its television appearance and stripping the media house’s journalists of their credentials.

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