Israel’s Cabinet has made the decision to close Al Jazeera due to concerns regarding national security threats

Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet decided on Sunday to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel for as long as the war in Gaza continues, on the grounds the Qatari television network threatens national security.

“The incitement channel Al Jazeera will be closed in Israel,” Netanyahu posted on social media following the unanimous cabinet vote.

A government statement said Israel’s communications minister signed orders to “act immediately,” but at least one lawmaker who supported the closure said Al Jazeera could still try to block it in court.

The measure, the statement said, will include closing Al Jazeera’s offices in Israel, confiscating broadcast equipment, cutting off the channel from cable and satellite companies and blocking its websites.

The network is funded by the Qatari government and has been fiercely critical of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, from where it has reported around the clock throughout the war. The Israeli statement did not mention Al Jazeera’s Gaza operations.

Israel’s parliament last month ratified a law allowing the temporary closure in Israel of foreign broadcasters considered to be a threat to national security.

Al Jazeera made no immediate comment on Sunday, although it has previously rejected accusations that it was a threat to Israel’s security and said the shutdown was an effort to silence it.

The law allows Netanyahu and his security cabinet to shut the network’s offices in Israel for 45 days, a period that can be renewed, so it could stay in force until the end of July or until the end of major military operations in Gaza.

Qatar, which hosts Hamas leaders, is trying to mediate a ceasefire and hostage release deal that could halt the Gaza war.

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