Israel orders local Al Jazeera offices to close immediately

"It’s time to remove the Hamas mouthpiece from our country," Netanyahu said after the vote.

Published: May 5, 2024 8:24am

Israel's government unanimously voted Sunday to close the local offices of Al Jazeera, a Qatar-owned broadcaster, effective immediately, as Qatar is mediating ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the decision on X, formerly Twitter, calling the Arabic and English-language network, "the incitement channel." 

Walid Al Omari, Al Jazeera's Palestinian office director, said the decision does not impact the West Bank, but he described it as coming from right-wing government leaders in search of "easy victories," according to the network.

"Al Jazeera reporters harmed Israel’s security and incited against soldiers," Netanyahu said after the vote, according to The Associated Press. "It’s time to remove the Hamas mouthpiece from our country."

Multiple senior Hamas officials live in Qatar, and the country is reportedly facing pressure from the U.S. to expel the officials if the terrorist organization rejects another ceasefire proposal.

While Israel has previously taken actions against individual journalists, this is believed to be the first time the country has ever completely shuttered a foreign news organization.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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