May 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar-Owned Al-Jazeera to Close Israel Bureau Pending Israeli Cabinet Vote

May 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Qatar-Owned Al-Jazeera to Close Israel Bureau Pending Israeli Cabinet Vote

Latest Developments

Israel’s attorney general, Gali Baharav-Miara, greenlit the closure of Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera’s Israel-based news operations on May 2, allowing the Israeli cabinet to bring the measure to a vote. If passed, the measure will suspend Al-Jazeera broadcasts on Israeli platforms, block access to Al-Jazeera’s websites, and force Al-Jazeera to close its offices in Israel.

On April 1, the Israeli Knesset passed legislation allowing the government to temporarily shutter foreign media organizations deemed a threat to national security. Following the April 1 vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intended “to act immediately in accordance with the new law” to shut down Al-Jazeera. “The terrorist channel Al-Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel,” he wrote on X. 

Expert Analysis

“While it is hard to control the flow of information in this time and age, restricting Al-Jazeera’s ability to bestow journalistic immunity on its correspondents, some of whom are proven militants with Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, is a good way of making the life of this anti-Israel, anti-West channel harder.” — Hussain Abdul-Hussain, FDD Research Fellow

“Al-Jazeera acts as a media arm for Hamas, not as an independent media organization. When you start seeing clear evidence of material support for terrorism and employees exposed as Hamas terrorists, it’s time to close down its offices. Washington should follow Israel’s lead.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Al-Jazeera Amplifies Hamas

Al-Jazeera is owned by the Qatari government and effectively functions as a mouthpiece of the state. Just as Doha provides Hamas with political and financial backing, Al-Jazeera provides Hamas with a platform for incitement and propaganda. On October 7, Al-Jazeera broadcast a recording of Hamas military chief Mohammad Deif encouraging Palestinians to “kill, burn, destroy, and shut down roads” inside Israel. Al-Jazeera also aired incendiary statements from Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh and his now-deceased deputy, Saleh al-Arouri. Haniyeh appeared on Al-Jazeera on October 7 praising Hamas’s “great triumph” and calling on “the sons of this entire nation, in their various locations, to join this battle in any way they can.”

Al-Jazeera Aids Hamas on the Battlefield

Al-Jazeera aids Hamas militarily. In October, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi’s office said it had “proof” that Al-Jazeera reporters were “passing sensitive information to the enemy” about Israeli troop locations. The Israeli military also published evidence in February showing that Al-Jazeera correspondents Muhammed Wishah and Ismail Abu Omar served as Hamas military commanders. Abu Omar filmed himself participating in the October 7 attacks.

Washington Should Clip Qatar’s Media Wing,” by Natalie Ecanow

Al Jazeera should report, not inflame, the Gaza war,” by Hussain Abdul-Hussain

The Growing List of Al Jazeera Terrorists,” by Jonathan Schanzer


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