The Qatar state-owned network Al Jazeera is facing intense criticism that it is assisting the Hamas terrorist movement in its war against the Jewish state, prompting the government to declare that Al Jazeera's operation will be outlawed in Israel for transmitting "sensitive information to our enemies."
When asked about a ban on Al Jazeera and two additional reportedly pro-Hamas news outlets, foreign ministry spokesman, Lior Haiat, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday "The government is working on something. And it is being led by the Communications Ministry and the Defence Ministry. The idea is if they are crossing the line in assisting Hamas, we can shut out the entire channel. "
He added that the closure of a network is "directed at channels that are crossing the line in assisting Hamas."
The Post also asked Hiat about a ban on the Qatari-owned Al-Araby and the pro-Hezbollah outlet Al Mayadeen operating in Israel and in Judea and Samaria. It is unclear if Israel plans to close the two news outlets that are broadcasting in support of Hamas.
Shloma Karhi, the communications minister, told Israel's Army Radio last Sunday about Al Jazeera "This is a station that incites, this is a station that films troops in assembly areas (outside Gaza) ... that incites against the citizens of Israel - a propaganda mouthpiece."
"It is unconscionable that Hamas spokespeople's message goes through this station." He continued, "I hope we will finish with this today."
Israel's government ratcheted up its rhetoric against Al Jazeera on Friday, according to a report in Ynet, noting that the communications ministry said: "After strenuous activity by the Minister of Communications and his office staff, with the support of the Mossad, the Shin Bet and the Defense Ministry, and after examining all the required legal aspects and reaching agreements with the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, the government approved regulations that will allow the cessation of activities of a foreign broadcasting organization that harms the security of the state, for the duration of the war.
The closure of the Al Jazeera network in Israel comes after the presentation of evidence that it helps the enemy, broadcasts propaganda in the service of Hamas in Arabic and English to viewers all over the world, and even transmits sensitive information to our enemies."
Mossad Pushed for the Ban
The Mossad told public broadcaster Kan this week that it advocates a ban on Al Jazeera because the outlet showed sensitive movements of Israeli forces along the Gaza Strip border.
Yigal Carmon, the former counter-terrorism advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, wrote Wednesday on the website of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)," Qatar has two TV channels that are serving Hamas in time of war: Al Jazeera and Al-Araby. To the shame of Israel's reckless and failing government, these Goebbels-like channels are broadcasting from Israel. War was declared by Hamas commander in Gaza Muhammad Deif, on these two channels on the morning of Saturday, October 7. Since then, both channels have been acting as megaphones for Hamas's military, operational, and propaganda messages."
Carmon is the president and founder of MEMRI and has argued from the outbreak of the war that Israel needs to discontinue the news operations of Al Jazeera, Al-Araby and Al Mayadeen. Carmon has garnered the moniker of the "man who predicted the war" for his prescient August 31 article.
He continued that "Israel is in a legal state of war, with emergency laws activated. Under these laws, such enemy channels could be shut down within half an hour – which means that Prime Minister Netanyahu's deadly collaboration with Qatar is continuing even after 1,400 Israelis were killed, nearly 200 were abducted, and there is nightly missile fire on Tel Aviv that is broadcast by these channels."
According to Carmon, "Al Jazeera's and Al-Araby's impact on both the ideological and operational levels is enormous. Israeli lives have been put at mortal risk due to these channels' operational and ideological support. And yet they are still, to this very day, operating freely in Israel."
The former colonel in the IDF's military intelligence, Carmon, said "Qatar is Hamas and Hamas is Qatar."
MEMRI issued a report on Tuesday, with "some of the messages posted by Al Jazeera's journalists celebrating Hamas' mega-terror attack in Israel."
In an October 10, 2023 post in response to President Joe Biden's comment that Hamas "does not represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people," Al Jazeera presenter Ghada Oueiss wrote: "Seriously? Has brother [Biden] polled our opinion on this??"
On October 7, the day of the Hamas massacre, the Al Jazeera presenter Tamer Almisshal celebrated the events, writing: "Gaza manufactures victory and honor for its homeland and nation."
Al Jazeera Presenter Ahmad Mansour circulated a video showing Hamas terrorists dragging two Israeli soldiers on the ground, and stated: "This historic picture is worth as much as the hundreds of billions of dollars that the world's Zionists have invested in Israel in the last decades."
Israel's ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, published an opinion article on the website Newsweek titled "Is Qatar a Western Ally or Jihadist Hotbed?"
The ambassador wrote that "Qatar couples its financial support for terror with a sophisticated propaganda machine, state-run Al Jazeera has been instrumental in spreading anti-American and antisemitic content around the world. It cravenly exported the rhetoric of Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda to global audiences."
Prosor added, "Qatar has gone to great lengths to whitewash these crimes, using strategic investments to distract from its abysmal human rights record."
The Post sent press queries to Al Jazeera and Qatar's government.
The Post sent a press query to Israel's Government Press Office on Friday about Al-Araby and Al Mayadeen operating in Israel and in Judea and Samaria. Al Araby TV reporter Amid Shehadeh and cameraman Rabi Munir have previously reported in Jenin. The agency director for Al Mayadeen's office in 'Palestine' is Nasser al-Laham, according to his X account, formerly known as Twitter, biography.
In 2020, al-Laham championed the antisemitic book "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" during an interview with Al Mayadeen. MEMRI first located and translated the interview. Al-Laham said "The Emiratis and Bahrainis who normalize [their relations with Israel] believe – and I don't know who planted this conviction in their brains – that the Israelis love them. They are clearly not well versed in the Bible, the Talmud, or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
Al-Laham continued that "Zionists do not love Arabs. The Zionists came to replace [the Arabs] and not to occupy them. So this will be a direct occupation of the UAE and Bahrain by Israel. It will be an occupation in the full sense of the word – the media, the economy, and the politics. They are after the billions of the Gulf. On the stairs, boarding his plane, Netanyahu stated: 'I am going to get the billions.' He wants cash. He wants to follow Trump's example."
Benjamin Weinthal, a Ginsburg/Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, reports on Israel, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Europe for Fox News Digital. Follow him on Twitter at @BenWeinthal.