Israel’s Knesset Passes Law Aimed at Expelling Al Jazeera News Network

The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, calls the new law ‘concerning.’

AP Adel Hana
A mural of the slain of Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. AP Adel Hana

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he would “immediately” implement a law passed Monday that will allow him to expel Al Jazeera from the country, calling the Qatari-owned news outlet a threat to Israel’s national security. Mr. Netanyahu has accused the news outlet of supporting Hamas’s October 7 attack.

“The terrorist channel Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a social media post. “I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activity.” 

Under the new law, the prime minister will be able to direct the communications minister to bring a resolution against any press organization that “harms in a real way” Israel’s security, in the prime minister’s opinion.

The law also empowers the prime minister to block that press outlet’s TV broadcasts, shut down its offices, seize equipment, and block its website.

The prime minister will have to acquire opinions about how the news outlet in question causes “real harm” from each of the country’s security agencies and petition to renew the ban every 45 days after the initial approval.

The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said of the new law, “If those reports are true, it is concerning to us,” in a statement Monday.

“We believe in the freedom of the press. It is critically important. The United States supports the critically important work journalists around the world do, and that includes those who are reporting on the conflict in Gaza,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

American officials also have been critical of Al Jazeera’s coverage of the war at Gaza since the October 7 attack, with Secretary Blinken asking the Qatari government to pressure Al Jazeera to soften its criticism of Israel, according to Axios.

Throughout the war the administration has been reliant on Qatar as a go-between for communication and negotiations with Hamas officials.

The New York Sun

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