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Israel’s Netanyahu vows to shut Al Jazeera after Knesset law

The prime minister's pledge drew statements of concern and condemnation from the White House and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
An employee of the Qatar-based news network and TV channel Al Jazeera is seen at the channel's Jerusalem office on July 31, 2017.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Monday to shut down Al Jazeera after the country’s parliament passed a law that allows the government to restrict foreign networks deemed a security risk.

The Knesset passed a law by 71 votes to 10 on Monday, allowing the prime minister to temporarily prevent foreign news networks from operating in Israel for security reasons. It specifically allows the communications minister to order the closure of a network's office in Israel, the removal of a network from Israeli cable and satellite television providers and the blocking of its websites, among other things. The restriction can occur after a foreign outlet receives at least one advisory report from a security agency deeming it harmful to the state, according to multiple reports. 

Networks can be shuttered for 45 days under the new law, though the ban is renewable. The law will remain in effect until the end of July or the end of the Gaza war, according to local reports.

In a statement on X, Netanyahu vowed to shut down Al Jazeera in the country, calling the network a "mouthpiece for Hamas."

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