June 10, 2024 | Flash Brief

Citing Threat to State Security, Israel Extends Ban on Qatar-Owned Al Jazeera for 45 Days

June 10, 2024 | Flash Brief

Citing Threat to State Security, Israel Extends Ban on Qatar-Owned Al Jazeera for 45 Days

Latest Developments

The Israeli government on June 9 extended its temporary ban on Al Jazeera, citing the Qatari-owned network’s ongoing threat to Israel’s national security. Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi wrote on X that the 45-day extension “was unanimously adopted by the government” based on assessments from security agencies. He emphasized that in “light of the seriousness of the damage to the security of the state by the Al Jazeera terrorist channel, I am convinced that the closure orders will be extended in the future as well.”

On April 1, the Israeli Knesset passed legislation allowing the government to temporarily bar foreign media organizations deemed a threat to national security. Jerusalem leveraged the law to shutter Al-Jazeera’s Israel operations in May. “Al Jazeera reporters harmed Israel’s security and incited against [Israeli] soldiers. It’s time to remove the Hamas mouthpiece from our country,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after his cabinet unanimously voted to take action against the channel. The initial 35-day ban expired on June 8.

Expert Analysis

“There is a thin line between independent news organizations that are a value-added in any democracy and state-owned propaganda mouthpieces that undermine democracies. Al-Jazeera is owned and operated by the state of Qatar and is a threat to liberal democracies in Israel and worldwide. Like Washington cracked down on state-owned Russia Today and Chinese media in Washington, so did the Jewish state correctly go after propaganda machines masquerading as free press such as Al-Jazeera.” — Hussain Abdul-Hussain, FDD Research Fellow

“Al Jazeera’s track record should not come as a surprise given that its Qatari owners host Hamas political headquarters, harbor Hamas leaders, and provide Hamas upwards of $300 million per year.” — Natalie Ecanow, FDD Research Analyst

Gaza Journalists Celebrate, Aid Hamas

Karhi’s office said in October that it had “proof” Al-Jazeera reporters were “passing sensitive information to the enemy” about Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troop locations. In February, the IDF revealed 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.

Al-Jazeera journalists are not the only ones collaborating with Hamas. In November, an image surfaced of Hassan Eslaiah, a freelance journalist who was in Kibbutz Kfar Azza during the October 7 Hamas onslaught, smiling with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who masterminded the attack. Doaa Rouqa, a freelance photographer used by Reuters, called the October 7 massacre a “great victory” and offered a prayer to “protect” the terrorists who executed it. On June 9, the IDF and Shin Bet revealed that Abdallah Aljamal, a former spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Labor in Gaza and a contributor to the Palestine Chronicle, held three of the four hostages rescued from Gaza that day in his family home. The Palestine Chronicle is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization.

Hamas ‘Reporter’ Doubles as Captor,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Shutters Al Jazeera Bureau,” FDD Flash Brief

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

Issues:

Gulf States Israel Israel at War