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Al Jazeera in Israel closed for exposing Tel Aviv’s war crimes in Gaza: Expert

Israel's decision to close Al Jazeera channel's offices aims to silence the voice of freedom that exposed Israel's crimes in the Gaza war, an expert told Anadolu on Monday.

The Israeli government on Sunday decided unanimously to shut down the bureau of the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera television.

Originally from Syria, Canadian expert and Middle East affairs researcher Ammar Abdelhamid said: “What happened with Al Jazeera exceeded all limits and required an Israeli ministerial meeting to make the decision. Undoubtedly, the enormous impact led to this decision.”

He pointed out that “observers now realize that this conflict has taken on a new and completely different form.”

Elaborating on this, he explained: “The media is now the primary weapon in the battle, and its impact has reached everywhere in the world, to the extent that elite university students in America have made the issue their own, all thanks to the media and different voices.”

The Canadian expert considered that this "undermines traditional politics and prepares for a new scene in the West."

He emphasized that "undoubtedly, the extensive coverage and reporting by Al Jazeera have become of immense significance in altering public sentiment worldwide. Therefore, it was necessary for Israel to silence it.”

Abdelhamid continued: "We have witnessed the immense power of media in these times and the inability of anyone, after the proliferation of social media, to silence diverse voices."

"For all these reasons, it was necessary to make a high-level decision to silence Al Jazeera, the annoying voice of freedom,” he added.

Last month, Israel’s Knesset, or parliament, passed legislation allowing the closure of the Al Jazeera television.

Under the legislation, the communications minister is empowered to shut down foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if the country’s defense minister identifies that their broadcasts pose “an actual harm to the state’s security.”

Al Jazeera has an office in Israel and a team of correspondents working year-round, including covering Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, which has killed nearly 34,700 people since Oct. 7, 2023.

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