Israel justice minister says he gets most of his Gaza news from recently-banned Al Jazeera

Israel justice minister says he gets most of his Gaza news from recently-banned Al Jazeera
Yariv Levin, Israel's justice minister, said that most of what he knows about the war in Gaza is via the Al Jazeera network, which is now banned in Israel
2 min read
09 May, 2024
Levin said he was told "nothing" by other Israeli cabinet members [Getty]

Israel’s Justice Minister said that "most of what he knows" regarding the war in Gaza had come from Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, which was recently shut down in Israel by his government.

Yariv Levin had reportedly told hostages’ families that he is "told nothing" and that no information is "shared" with him regarding the deadly war’s management and negotiations, Haaretz reported on Wednesday, citing an Israel Hayom correspondent.

"Most of what I know is from watching Al Jazeera, because I speak Arabic," he told families during a recent meeting.

The Qatari broadcaster's offices were shut down by Israel on Sunday over its coverage of the deadly war in Gaza, which has killed at least 34,904 Palestinians since October 7. Thousands more are feared buried under rubble, while lack of basic necessities and the spread of diseases are likely to exacerbate the death toll.

Israel has been widely accused of war crimes and genocide over its ferocious and indiscriminate attacks on the territory.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorised Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi to order the termination of Al-Jazeera's Arabic and English channel’s broadcasts in Israel.

The ban also meant the closure of Al Jazeera’s offices in Israel, and Karhi went on to order the confiscation of equipment used by personnel to broadcast, Haaretz also reported.

Al Jazeera called the ban "criminal", and has condemned the country for targeting journalists working for the network throughout the war.

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Qatar, which owns the broadcaster, has been a key mediator over the months in true talks between Israel and Hamas. Earlier this week, Qatar insisted that it strictly adheres to impartiality, and said it would refuse to be used as a "pressure tool" between parties.

Levin also told the families of hostages that he "realised that the expanded cabinet is a place where it is impossible to make decisions and everything leaks," in reference to Netanyahu’s war cabinet, which was formed at the onset of Israel’s military operation.

"I therefore urged the establishment of the war cabinet, where it is possible to make decisions in a limited forum," he said.

In 2023, Levin, a Likud party member, controversially announced a judicial overhaul programme including a "derogation clause" allowing politicians to override decisions of the Supreme Court, which triggered massive protests in Israel.

In May last year, Levin said that the Supreme Court must feature justices who "understand" why Jewish Israelis would not be "prepared to live with Arabs" in mixed localities, The Times of Israel reported.