Cabinet votes to shut down Al Jazeera network in Israel

Ministers approve move in unanimous vote after National Unity party members avoid meeting; Communications Minister signs directive and requests military enforce decision in the West Bank
The cabinet on Sunday voted to shut down the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera network's bureau in Israel, which employs 70 people. The decision was approved by a unanimous vote after National Unity Party members stayed away from the meeting.
The decision was made possible after the Knesset passed a law stipulating that the Communications Minister could act to shut down foreign media channels in the country should the prime minister find it is harming Israel, after reviewing at least one security assessment on the issue and conditioned by the approval of the government or Security Cabinet.
After the ministers voted to approve the move, Communications Minister Shlomo Kahrhi signed a directive to close the network's bureaus, confiscate its broadcast equipment, revoke press credentials from its journalists, remove the channel from cable and satellite services and block its websites on the internet. He said he also planned to request that the military administration of the West Bank ban the network from operating or being broadcast there.
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משרדי אל ג'זירה בירושלים
משרדי אל ג'זירה בירושלים
Al Jazeera's Jerusalem Bureau
( Photo: AP)
The cabinet was scheduled to vote on the matter last week but at the request of the Mossad and Shin Bet chiefs, who were concerned that such a move would endanger a possible hostage release deal, it was moved to Sunday.
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