Knesset Committee Debates Closing Al Jazeera for Alleged Hamas Support

By Aryeh Stern

A general view shows the Al Jazeera headquarters building, in Doha, Qatar. (REUTERS/Imad Creidi/File Photo)

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, led by MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), convened Tuesday to discuss a motion titled “The Government’s Responsibility to Shut Down Al Jazeera Channel Immediately.” This motion, presented by MKs Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu), Ze’ev Elkin (National Unity Party), Erez Malul (Shas), and Rabbi Moshe Roth (United Torah Judaism), raised concerns about the channel’s alleged incitement against Israel and support for Hamas while operating within Israeli territory.

The motion argued that Al Jazeera, regarded as a mouthpiece for Hamas, poses a threat to national security by disseminating information to Israel’s adversaries and inciting against the country.

During the meeting, MK Forer emphasized Qatar’s funding and support of Hamas, asserting that allowing Qatar’s dual stance weakens efforts to bring back hostages held by Hamas.

In response, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi (Likud) stated that directives were drafted post-war to address broadcasters compromising national security. However, he noted delays in implementing these measures due to sensitive considerations related to matters of life and death and efforts to return the hostages. Karhi emphasized the need for approval from the defense minister, stressing the complexity of the situation.

MK Edelstein, the Committee chairman, concluded the meeting by highlighting the necessity of establishing clear criteria to address incitement and the transmission of sensitive information. He also drew attention to other channels like RT that share similar concerns to Al Jazeera.

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