Skip to main content

Israel votes to shut down Al Jazeera in the country

Police confiscate Al Jazeera broadcast equipment as network is pulled off the air in Israel
The main headquarters of Qatari news broadcaster Al Jazeera in the capital Doha on 11 May 2022 (AFP)
The main headquarters of Qatari news broadcaster Al Jazeera in the capital Doha on 11 May 2022 (AFP)

The Israeli government voted on Sunday to shut down the operations of Al Jazeera, one of the last remaining international media networks reporting from the war-ravaged Gaza Strip.

Israel's Minister of Communications, Shlomo Karhi, said in a statement that the government signed orders to immediately to close Al Jazeera's offices in Israel, confiscate broadcast equipment, cut the channel off from cable and satellite companies and block its websites.

Following a cabinet vote on the closure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Al Jazeera reporters had "harmed Israel’s security and incited against soldiers," and referred to the outlet as a "Hamas mouthpiece."

Neither Netanyahu or the Ministry of Communications provided examples of Al Jazeera content that they claimed posed a threat.

Al Jazeera decried the decision and said the accusation that it threatened Israeli security was a "dangerous and ridiculous lie" and was part of Israel's "ongoing suppression of the free press."

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


"Al Jazeera Media Network strongly condemns and denounces this criminal act that violates human rights and the basic right to access of information," the company said in a statement. "Al Jazeera affirms its right to continue to provide news and information to its global audiences."

According to Israel's Communications Ministry, the shutdown order is initially for 45 days, with an option for a 45-day extension.

The office of the UN high commissioner for human rights also criticised the move saying a "free & independent media is essential to ensuring transparency & accountability.

We were lied into genocide. Al Jazeera has shown us how
Read More »

"Now, even more so given tight restrictions on reporting from Gaza. Freedom of expression is a key human right. We urge govt to overturn ban."

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also lashed out at the "repressive" decision, saying Israel sought to "censor the channel for its coverage of the war in Gaza."

The closure comes following months of Israeli incitement against the Al Jazeera, despite the network being one of the first Arab news outlets in the region to interview Israeli figures on air. 

In 2022, an Israeli soldier fatally shot Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while she was reporting in Jenin.

The Israeli army initially denied killing Abu Akleh, but months later admitted she was "likely" killed by an Israeli soldier. Since then, Israel has refused to cooperate with FBI and International Criminal Court investigations into her death. During the current war on Gaza, a shrine to Abu Akleh has been bulldozed in the occupied West Bank.

Since October, Israeli forces have killed, wounded and detained several Al Jazeera journalists reporting from Gaza, including several member of Wael al-Dahdouh's family. Dahdouh is considered by many across the Arab world to be the face of Al Jazeera's Gaza coverage.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.