Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara and Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi reached an agreement on Wednesday regarding the minister’s proposal to the security cabinet asking to close down the offices of Qatar-based news agency Al Jazeera in Israel. The two’s agreed upon steps will be presented for the government’s approval on Sunday.
It was also reported the attorney general ceded her requirement saying a judge must approve the proposal in three days, or have it dismissed. Now, the parties are finalizing the details of the agreement. Security officials are also expected to add their opinions on the matter.
Several days ago, Karhi proposed emergency regulations before the security cabinet in order to enable the closure of Al Jazeera's offices in Israel, claiming its broadcasts from the country pose a security risk and incite violence. Al Jazeera's television network employs 30 workers in Israel, most of whom are Israeli citizens, with some being Qatari citizens. The network broadcasts in English and Arabic.
If the request is approved, Communications Ministry inspectors and police will shut down Al Jazeera's offices in Israel, confiscate their cameras, and seize any equipment relevant to their broadcasts.
In another regulatory action, their channels will be immediately removed from Israeli broadcasting networks. None of Al Jazeera's employees will be arrested, although the employees’ press passes will likely be revoked. It's unclear whether there’s an intention to ask the station’s Qatari workers to leave Israel.
Prior to the discussion in the security cabinet, Karhi's request was reviewed by all security agencies, including the Mossad, the Shin Bet, the IDF, and the attorney general. Security officials expressed support for the move, but the Shin Bet indicated that it is difficult to prove the network poses a true threat to Israel’s security.
Following the report, Al Jazeera issued a statement against the emergency regulations that would enable the closure of its offices in Israel. Walid Al-Omari, bureau chief of Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem offices, said “Israel is accusing us of being what we’re not. Since the beginning of the war, we’ve been broadcasting Israeli press conferences live with simultaneous translation.”
“Our network presented IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, Avichay Adraee, as well as the Foreign Ministry spokesman. The images we’re broadcasting are the same ones Israel is broadcasting, including all the Israeli channels and the military statements. We have never acted against the Israeli Military Censor, and we have always maintained communication with the military,” he added.