A general view of an Al Jazeera building in Doha, Qatar, May 5, 2024. Image Credit: Reuters

Israeli officials seized Al Jazeera equipment on Sunday, hours after the nation's cabinet approved a decision to shutter the Qatar-based TV news network's operations in Israel - an unprecedented step toward an international media outlet.

Inspectors from the communications ministry, accompanied by police, arrived at Al Jazeera offices in Jerusalem, confiscated equipment and cut off access. Al Jazeera's broadcasts and access to its website have been blocked throughout Israel.

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Shlomo Karhi, Israel's communications minister, posted a video clip of the raid on X, formerly Twitter, where the inspectors can be seen and heard naming the equipment they found.

Karhi has been a key advocate for the termination of the network's activity within Israel. He's also called Kan, Israel's public broadcaster, biased and threatened to cut its budgets.


Al Jazeera denounced Israel's move, calling it a "criminal act that violates human rights in access to information." The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has petitioned the move to Israel's Supreme Court.

"This is a dark day for the media and a dark day for democracy," Israel's Foreign Press Association said in a statement. "Israel joins a dubious club of authoritarian governments to ban the station."

A picture shows a view of the Al Jazeera television network offices in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on May 5, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

The association expressed concern that Israel's government "may not be done" as the prime minister now has the authority to target other foreign media he deems to be "acting against the state."

The idea of shutting down the news channel has been circulating within Netanyahu's cabinet since the early days of war.

A law allowing foreign media outlets to be shuttered in Israel was approved by the nation's parliament, the Knesset, in early April.