Israel to close Al Jazeera’s operations in country; cabinet votes amid escalating Gaza war

The decision will further heighten tensions with Qatar

(File) An employee of the Qatar based news network and TV channel Al-Jazeera is seen at the channel's Jerusalem office | AFP (File) An employee of the Qatar based news network and TV channel Al-Jazeera is seen at the channel's Jerusalem office | AFP

Amid the escalating Israel-Hamas war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that his government has voted unanimously to shut down the local offices of Qatar-owned news network Al Jazeera.  

The decision was announced by Netanyahu on X. However, it is still not clear whether the measure was a permanent or temporary one. “My government decided unanimously: the incitement channel Al Jazeera will close in Israel,” Netanyahu posted on X. 

Al Jazeera has vehemently denied that it incites against Israel.

An Al Jazeera correspondent on its Arabic service said the order would affect the broadcaster's operations in Israel and in east Jerusalem, where it has been doing live shots for months since the Oct 7 attack that sparked the war in Gaza, reported The Associated Press.

Another correspondent said that the order barred the channel from holding offices or operations in Israel.

Israel’s decision heightens the tensions with Qatar since the government is leading mediation efforts to end the war in Gaza. Qatar along with Egypt and the United States is involved in the mediation efforts.

Since Israel accused Qatar of not exerting enough pressure on Hamas to agree to a truce deal, Netanyahu had strained ties with the country.

Al Jazeera has been closed or blocked by other Mideast governments. Those include Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain during a yearslong boycott of Doha by the countries amid a years-long political dispute that ended in 2021.

(With PTI inputs)

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