Israeli gov’t closes Qatar’s Al Jazeera channel in the country

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Al Jazeera headquarters building in Doha, Qatar.

JERUSALEM, May 5, (AP): Israel’s main cable provider has halted broadcasts of the Al Jazeera news station, citing a ban on the channel approved Sunday by the government.
The “Hot” cable provider on Sunday afternoon turned off Al Jazeera’s broadcasts in both English and Arabic.
“In accordance with the government decision, broadcaster Al-Jazeera has stopped in Israel,” it said in a message on screen.
In Israel, the channel’s websites in Arabic and English remained operational, and the station could still be watched live on YouTube in both languages.
Hamas militants on Sunday attacked Israel’s main crossing point for delivering humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, reportedly wounding several Israelis and prompting Israel to close the terminal.
The attack disrupted critical shipments of food and other humanitarian aid into Gaza and dealt a new blow to ongoing cease-fire efforts mediated by Egypt and Qatar. In another potential setback, Israel said it was shuttering the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera satellite channel, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he rejected Hamas’ latest demands and vowed to keep on fighting.
The Israeli military reported 10 launches at the Kerem Shalom crossing. Hamas said it had been targeting Israeli soldiers in the area. Israel’s Channel 12 TV channel said 10 people were wounded, three seriously.
Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing has become the primary gateway for badly needed humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. The military said the crossing was immediately closed, halting deliveries of aid into hard-hit Gaza. It was unclear how long the closure would remain in effect.
The incident comes at a time when Gaza is facing a humanitarian crisis with shortages of food, medicine, and other humanitarian items.
The attack threatened to complicate the ongoing cease-fire talks in Egypt. A Hamas delegation was in Cairo on Saturday as Egyptian state media reported “noticeable progress” in the cease-fire talks.
However, Israel hasn’t sent a delegation to Cairo and a senior Israeli official downplayed prospects for a full end to the war while emphasizing Israel’s commitment to invading Rafah.
Egyptian and Hamas officials have said the deal calls for an extended pause in fighting in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. But the sides remain at odds over whether the deal would include an end to the war and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.
Netanyahu further lowered expectations on Sunday when he accused Hamas of making unacceptable demands.
While claiming that Israel has shown a willingness to make concessions, he said: “Hamas has still held to its extreme positions, first and foremost the withdrawal of our forces from the strip, the conclusion of the war and leaving Hamas intact.”
“Israel will not agree to Hamas’s demands, which would mean surrender; it will continue fighting until all of its objectives are achieved,” he said.
Israel launched its war in response to the Hamas cross-border attack on Oct. 7, which killed some 1,200 people and took 250 others hostage. An Israeli air and ground offensive has killed over 34,500 people, according to Palestinian health officials, displaced some 80% of Gaza’s population, and led to a humanitarian disaster.
Egypt and Qatar have been working with the United States to mediate a cease-fire.
On Sunday, Netanyahu’s Cabinet approved a measure to shutter Qatar’s Al Jazeera news channel, accusing it of broadcasting anti-Israel incitement. The decision threatened to further disrupt the cease-fire talks. There was no immediate comment from Qatar.

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