Israel extends ban on Al Jazeera for another 45 days citing security threats

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 - Israel has extended a ban on Al Jazeera's operations for another 45 days.

Israel's telecoms regulator said the ban came after the Israeli war cabinet agreed its broadcasts posed a threat to security.

A Tel Aviv court last week upheld an initial 35-day ban on Al Jazeera operations in Israel, imposed by the government on national security grounds, which ended on Saturday.

In another ruling on a petition by Al Jazeera against the closure, Israel's Supreme Court described the measure against the Qatari-backed broadcaster channel as "precedent-setting".

The Supreme Court gave Israel's government until August 8 to offer arguments for "why it should not be determined that the Law Preventing a Foreign Broadcaster from Harming National Security" is void.

Al Jazeera had told the court it did not incite violence or terrorism and that the ban was disproportionate, court documents showed, saying it only criticised Israel's military operations in Gaza.

The network's broadcasts on the cable and satellite companies and access to its websites will remain blocked, Israel's Communications Ministry said.

"We will not allow the terrorist channel Al Jazeera to broadcast from Israel and endanger our fighters," said Shlomo Karhi, adding that the law authorised him as communications minister to take such action against foreign broadcasters.

"In light of the seriousness of the damage to the security of the state I am convinced that the closure orders will be extended in the future as well," he said.

Judge Shai Yaniv had said he had been provided with evidence, which he did not specify, of a close relationship between the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Al Jazeera, accusing the channel of promoting Hamas' goals.

Al Jazeera said it "rejects all the minister's claims, excuses and accusations".

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