Israel and Hamas at war | Al Jazeera denounces “dangerous lie” by Netanyahu to ban the channel

(Jerusalem) The Qatari television channel Al Jazeera denounced on Monday its possible ban on broadcasting by Israel, describing the comments of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “dangerous and ridiculous lie”.




Al Jazeera denounced a “frantic campaign” against him launched by Mr. Netanyahu who accuses him of “harming Israel’s security” and of having “actively participated in the October 7 attack”, according to a press release from the channel. “The Al Jazeera network condemns these statements and sees them as nothing more than a dangerous and ridiculous lie.”

Al Jazeera banned

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that he wanted to “act immediately” to ban the broadcast of Al Jazeera in Israel, shortly after Parliament voted for a law authorizing it to do so.

“The terrorist channel Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel. I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the activities of the channel,” Mr. Netanyahu said on the social network X.

He spoke shortly after Monday’s vote in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) for a law to prohibit the broadcast in Israel of foreign media that undermine state security, a text targeting the Qatari channel.

This law approved by a very large majority by the deputies (70 for, 10 against) gives the Prime Minister the possibility of prohibiting the broadcast of content from the targeted channel but also of closing its offices in Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu had previously requested that this law be adopted during the plenary session of Parliament, according to a press release from his party, Likud.

He accused Al Jazeera of being “a Hamas propaganda organ and of having actively participated in the October 7 massacre.”

The Israeli military has repeatedly claimed that Al Jazeera journalists are “terrorist agents” affiliated with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The channel fiercely denies Israel’s accusations and accuses Israel of systematically targeting its employees in the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in the Palestinian territory, Wael al-Dahdouh, was injured by an Israeli strike in December that killed the Qatar-based channel’s cameraman. This country is also the place of residence of Hamas leader Ismaïl Haniyeh.

“Worrying”

The law adopted Monday in Parliament in Jerusalem was presented as part of the texts voted on according to an accelerated procedure in the midst of the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The United States, a close ally of Israel, said a possible ban on Al Jazeera in Israel would be “concerning”.

“I will refer you to Israel on what they plan to do but (…) if it is true, such a decision would be worrying,” said American executive spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre, adding: “We believe in freedom of the press.”

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an unprecedented attack in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP count established from official Israeli data.

In response, Israel vowed to destroy Hamas and its army launched a campaign of intense aerial bombardment of Gaza. Israeli operations have cost the lives of more than 32,800 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas health ministry.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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