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Israel extends ban on Arabic broadcaster Al Jazeera

A ban on Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel was extended for a further 45 days by the Israeli telecommunications regulator on Sunday (9), after the cabinet agreed that its broadcasts posed a security threat.

A Tel Aviv court last week upheld an initial 35-day ban on Al Jazeera operations in Israel, imposed by the government on national security grounds, which ended on Saturday (8).

In a separate ruling on an Al Jazeera petition against the shutdown, Israel’s Supreme Court described the move against the Qatari-backed broadcaster as “setting a precedent.” The court gave the Israeli government until August 8 to present arguments on “why it should not be determined that the law preventing a foreign broadcaster from harming national security” is void.

Al Jazeera told the court it did not incite violence or terrorism and that the ban was disproportionate, court documents showed. The channel, which has criticized Israel’s military operations in Gaza, was not immediately available for comment.

Network broadcasts on cable and satellite companies and access to their websites will remain blocked, Israel’s Ministry of Communications said.

“We will not allow the terrorist channel Al Jazeera to broadcast from Israel and endanger our fighters,” said Shlomo Karhi, adding that the law authorized him as Communications Minister to take such measures against foreign broadcasters.

“In light of the severity of the damage to state security, I am convinced that the closure orders will also be extended in the future,” he said.

Judge Shai Yaniv said he had received evidence, which he did not specify, of a close and long-standing relationship between the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Al Jazeera, accusing the channel of promoting Hamas’ goals.

Israeli authorities raided a Jerusalem hotel room used by Al Jazeera as an office on May 5 and said they would shut down the operation for the duration of the war in Gaza.

Source: CNN Brasil

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