Al Jazeera has played a pivotal role in relaying the atrocities on the ground in Gaza since Israel launched its war.
Israel indicated that it would hold off on threats to close Al Jazeera’s local bureau, steering clear of mentioning the Qatar-based media network in its decision concerning emergency media regulations amid its ongoing war on Gaza.
When questioned about why Al Jazeera was not mentioned in the decision, a spokesperson for the Israeli Communications Ministry said “the security cabinet has not discussed that,” as quoted by reports.
Reports say the deliberate omission suggests a delicate balancing act by Israel, which is seeking Doha’s help to release hundreds of captives held by Hamas in Gaza.
Despite the delay, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen expressed on Monday that he still supports a crackdown on Al Jazeera. In a Kan radio interview, when asked about the diplomatic feasibility of such action, Cohen replied: “I have made my opinion and position on the matter known.”
Al Jazeera has been extensively covering Israel’s aggression on Gaza through a number of correspondents and journalists on the ground since the war began on October 7.
A week into the war, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi announced plans to seek cabinet approval to shut down Al Jazeera’s local operations. Initially, the plan to shut down Al Jazeera’s bureau in Israel received preliminary governmental approval and was slated for examination by the expanded security cabinet.
However, on November 1, Israeli outlet Ynetnews reported that the Israeli government abandoned its initial move and attributed it to “strategic and security” deliberations, according to high-ranking Israeli sources.
Now, officials have appeared to set aside the entire plan, acknowledging Qatar’s vital role in negotiations surrounding the release of captives held by Hamas in Gaza.
Qatar considers Al Jazeera a critical tool in these diplomatic endeavours, and Israeli authorities concluded that eliminating the media outlet would have a detrimental impact on such negotiations, according to Ynetnews.
So far, Qatar has managed to secure the release of four captives on humanitarian grounds, though talks to free more civilians have appeared to stall in recent weeks due to intensifying Israeli bombardment.
Since the start of Israel’s relentless massacres in Gaza, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have killed 11,240 Palestinians, including 4,630 children.
Attacks on Al Jazeera
An anonymous Israeli government official revealed said there had been a schism Israel’s security agencies over whether Al Jazeera’s broadcasts from Israel genuinely posed a national security threat.
The regime’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, tasked with delivering a recommendation to the cabinet on whether to proceed with the closure, chose not to do so.
Over the years, Al Jazeera has been subjected to various deliberate attacks by Israel for its detailed and impartial coverage of the violence committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against Palestinians, including the latest war on Gaza.
Unlike other renowned media outlets that have been accused of parroting the Israeli narrative, Al Jazeera explicitly details the suffering of millions of Palestinians through its reporters and journalists on the ground.
Israel killed 19 members of a family related to one of Al Jazeera’s broadcast engineers, Mohamed Abu Al-Qumsan during a devastating attack on the Jabalia refugee camp late October.
The attack, which resulted in the deaths of at least 400 Palestinians, was severely denounced by the Qatar-based media organisation.
In an official statement, Al Jazeera condemned the “heinous and indiscriminate” killing of Mohamed Abu Al-Qumsan’s family members, describing the act as an “unforgivable act.”
The fatal Israeli assault claimed the lives of Al-Qumsan’s father, two sisters, eight nephews and nieces, his brother, his brother’s wife and their four children, his sister-in-law, and an uncle.
Israel has also threatened Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Gaza, Youmna ElSayed, telling her and her family to leave or risk death.
Youmna ElSayed’s husband received a call late October telling him to flee Gaza City and head south, despite the fact that there are no safe routes out of the area.
Al Jazeera said in a statement that it “condemns the Israeli threat” to ElSayed and her family.
Meanwhile, an air strike in October killed the family of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael Dahdouh. He lost his wife, son, daughter, and grandson.
The Al Jazeera statement further added: “This vile threat comes only a few days after the indiscriminate killing of the family of Al Jazeera Arabic’s journalist, Wael al-Dahdouh, who were asked to move south before being bombed”.
Action against Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen
The security cabinet, led by the regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, issued a statement authorising action against the Lebanese pro-Iranian channel Al Mayadeen.
The statement accused Al Mayadeen of “making wartime efforts to harm [Israel’s] security interests and to serve the enemy’s goals.”
The channel has been airing reports from inside Israeli territory, despite a formal state of war between Lebanon and the Israeli regime as well as Hezbollah’s involvement in the current war on Gaza.