Israel Ready to Arrest Journalists for Reporting Facts

Israel’s communications minister has acknowledged that his proposal is aimed at shutting down Al Jazeera in Israel and Gaza. A Monday vote on the regulations was postponed by the attorney general.

Qatar-owned Al Jazeera has reporters on the ground inside Gaza, presenting news from an Arab perspective, an invaluable counter to Western reporting. (Al Jazeera YouTube screenshot)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi has drafted regulations that will empower him to order police to arrest journalists for factual reporting and target anyone he believes has damaged national morale during Israel’s ongoing war against Gaza.

[On Monday the country’s attorney general “hesitated” about approving the regulations and the security cabinet pushed off the vote, The Times of Israel reports.]

Israel’s Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara in 2021. (Tomer Jacobson, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0) 

On Sunday, Haaretz reported that the draft emergency regulations of Karhi — a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party — are titled “Limiting Aid to the Enemy through Communication,” which would allow him to direct police to arrest any civilian, remove them from their home and seize their property if he believes they have disseminated information that might harm national morale or be used as “enemy propaganda.”

The regulations apply to the general public as well as local and foreign media professionals — and would apply to both truthful and inaccurate reporting.

In a Sunday morning radio interview with Galey Israel, Karhi acknowledged that the proposed regulations are aimed at shutting down broadcasts by Qatari state-owned broadcaster Al Jazeera in Israel and Gaza, where Israeli forces have killed more than 2,800 people including at least 1000 children while injuring over 10,000 others since last Saturday’s Hamas-led infiltration attack that left upwards of 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers dead, 3,200 injured, and around 200 others kidnapped.

“As far as I’m concerned, they won’t be able to operate in Israel, [but] I don’t know what the legal counsel will leave from the regulations I’ve introduced — including the confiscation of equipment and office closures,” Kahri said.

Israel’s Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, in 202. (Hagar Cohen, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Before Monday’s vote stalling action on the regulations, Haaretz‘s Avi Bar-Eli:

“It should be noted that the draft regulations, as formulated by the communications minister, fully contradict Israel’s democratic values and are unlikely to be approved by the government’s legal counsel.

Ironically, Karhi himself falls under the definition of offenses he published, having previously expressed contempt for Supreme Court justices, refused to state he will obey Supreme Court rulings, and, six months ago, expressed disdain for reserve soldiers who refused to volunteer.”

Earlier this year, Kahri courted controversy by announcing his intent to shut down Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster — which he accused of “left-wing bias” — and Army Radio. He has also introduced legislation to shutter Israel’s media watchdog and stands accused of favoring pro-Netanyahu outlets.

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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7 comments for “Israel Ready to Arrest Journalists for Reporting Facts

  1. October 18, 2023 at 09:05

    Freedom of communication Israeli style: but we’re supposed to believe them. Pretty much the same is unfortunately true in the United States, United Kingdom and European Union.

  2. Jeff Harrison
    October 17, 2023 at 18:28

    Israel is using the US script. If you can’t win a fair contest, cheat.

  3. Shiren
    October 17, 2023 at 18:13

    Ah, I see that Israel is now beginning to meet “NATO standards”.

    The same ‘freedom of the press’ that the rest of ‘the Free World’ has.

  4. Nathan Mulcahy
    October 17, 2023 at 15:57

    Middle East

  5. Nathan Mulcahy
    October 17, 2023 at 15:57

    The only democracy in the middle radius simply doing what the (western) has long been doing. Remember Julian Assange?

  6. James Porteous
    October 17, 2023 at 15:19

    AJE coverage throughout has been exceptional. Where I am located at the moment, I would not have otherwise not had any clear idea what was actually happening aside from the idiocy on US media. Youmna El Sayed in particular has been in the thick of it almost every day.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    October 17, 2023 at 15:07

    Bad conscience, israel??? Despicable.

Comments are closed.