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The international human rights foundation "Skyline" urges international journalists and news agencies operating in Israel to adopt a unified stance on the Israeli government's closure of Al Jazeera's offices and its ban on its operations.

In a statement issued today, Sunday, Skyline highlights that to stop further Israeli violations of the right to freedom of the press and to stop Israel from receiving approval for forms of media repression, journalists and the international media should speak out against the arbitrary measure against Al Jazeera.

The international human rights foundation, "Skyline," vehemently denounces the Israeli government's actions to shutter Al Jazeera's offices and label the channel as incendiary. Furthermore, the organization condemns the forcible entry into the channel's Jerusalem office and the confiscation of its equipment as additional tactics employed to suppress media freedom and obstruct coverage of Israeli human rights violations and policies.

The Israeli decision states that, to prevent a foreign broadcasting organization from endangering the state's security, the Minister of Communications was granted permission to issue, for 45 days, a decision to cease broadcasting Al Jazeera in Arabic and English, to close Al Jazeera's offices located on Israel's borders, to seize equipment used by Al Jazeera to broadcast content, and to restrict access to the channel's website. Communications Minister Shlomo Karei signed the instructions as soon as they were voted on and approved by the Council of Ministers.

In 2023, Parliament passed an amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Law that punishes people who "systematically and continuously consume terrorist publications" or broadcast "a direct call to commit a terrorist act." Interpreting this wide text in the context of war may pose significant threats to freedom of the press. Another rule passed by Parliament in 2024 prohibits the broadcast of foreign media that "threatens the State's security."

 

Skyline confirms that this decision followed an ongoing government incitement campaign against Al Jazeera and its crews since the start of the Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip on October 7th, which included far-right ministers and widespread participation from Israeli political and media entities.

Skyline stresses that the closure of Al Jazeera's offices is inextricably linked to Israel's systematic targeting of journalists working for it in the Gaza Strip and, before that, in the West Bank. This also falls under the larger context of widespread press freedom violations and the obscuring of the truth to prevent any narrative contrary to the official Israeli narrative.

Skyline emphasizes that Israel has committed serious violations against Palestinian journalists in both the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories. These violations have resulted in the deaths of approximately 140 journalists, along with many of their family members, since the outset of its military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Accordingly, Skyline warns that Israel provided no refuge for journalists during its military assault on the Gaza Strip. Journalists and their families were targeted both in their homes and while reporting in the field, even when identifiable with special jackets. Additionally, numerous media headquarters were targeted and destroyed.

The international human rights foundation, "Skyline," asserts that Israel's action against Al Jazeera constitutes a clear violation and direct attack on press freedom. This necessitates a proactive response from all media and human rights organizations, condemning the Israeli authorities' repeated assaults on the press and journalists. Furthermore, it calls attention to their efforts to restrict journalistic work in any means.