Karhi: Decision to shut down Al Jazeera in Israel awaits defense minister’s approval; Gallant: No objections

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Illustrative: An employee of Al Jazeera walks past the channel's logo at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. (AP/ Kamran Jebreili, File)
Illustrative: An employee of Al Jazeera walks past the channel's logo at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. (AP/ Kamran Jebreili, File)

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi says that a decision to shut down the Al Jazeera channel in Israel and seize its equipment is awaiting approval from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant following legal and security assessments by the government of the step.

“From our point of view the orders are ready to remove [Al Jazeera] from [cable TV providers] Hot and Yes, to close [Al Jazeera’s] offices, to seize broadcast equipment from journalists, to revoke the government press passes, to withhold communications and internet services by Israeli companies [to Al Jazeera], everything is ready,” says Karhi during a debate in the Knesset plenum on the issue.

He noted that the decision to close down the Qatari news channel, which Karhi accuses of harming Israeli national security and inciting terrorism, requires the defense minister’s approval before it can be brought to a vote in the security cabinet.

“This issue is at the door of the defense minister, after his approval, which we are yet to receive, the request will be brought to the security cabinet for approval,” the hardline communications minister says.

Karhi alleges during his comments in the Knesset that Al Jazeera has “photographed and published” the positioning of IDF forces, “broadcast military announcements by Hamas,” and “distorted facts in a way which incited masses of people to riot.”

A statement put out by Gallant’s office immediately following the debate in Knesset, says that “despite what has been claimed, the defense minister supports restricting the broadcasts and activities of the Al Jazeera station immediately.”

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