Israel Parliament approves law allowing Netanyahu government to close Al Jazeera

The Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, approved this Monday (1st) a law that allows the government to close the Al Jazeera TV network in the country. The project received 71 votes in favor and 10 against, according to the Israeli newspaper “Haaretz”.

As a result, even before the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had stated, through his party’s spokesman, Likud, that “he will take immediate measures to close Al Jazeera, in accordance with the procedure established by law.” .

The law approved by the Israeli Congress is not limited to Al Jazeera alone: ​​it allows the temporary closure in Israel of foreign broadcasters considered a threat to national security. The closure of press outlets by the Netanyahu government would extend for an initial period of 45 days, with the suspension potentially renewable for longer.

It is worth remembering that Al Jazeera is a TV network based in Qatar, which receives direct funding from the Doha regime, although it claims to maintain editorial independence.

Israel had previously accused the broadcaster of provoking unrest against the country among Arab viewers.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the law approved by the Israeli Congress is “worrying” and highlighted that press freedom is fundamental. The United States’ comment is important because the country is Israel’s greatest ally.

Last week, the US abstained from a vote on a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas at the UN Security Council. This angered Netanyahu, who decided to cancel the visit he and his delegation were going to make to the US to discuss the war.

When contacted by Reuters, the broadcaster’s main office in Israel and the Qatari government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the prime minister’s speech. Al Jazeera has already accused Israel of deliberately attacking its offices and staff, including the station’s journalists in Gaza.

Israeli authorities have long complained about Al Jazeera’s coverage but stopped short of taking action.