Photo by Hillel Maier/TPS on 12 February, 2024

Israel Moves to Ban Al Jazeera After Journalist Exposed as Hamas Commander

Public By Pesach Benson • 12 February, 2024

Jerusalem, 12 February, 2024 (TPS) -- Israeli Cabinet ministers agreed on Monday to advance a draft bill to ban Qatar’s Al Jazeera after one of its journalists was exposed as a Hamas commander.

The ministers, meeting by telephone, agreed to pass the so-called “Al Jazeera Law” to prevent broadcasts by a foreign entity that harms Israeli security. The measures will enable the press credentials of the Qatari-based news network to be revoked and its transmitters confiscated.

On Sunday evening, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, the Israel Defense Force’s Arabic-language spokesman, took to X, formerly called Twitter, to expose Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Washah as a Hamas commander.

“A laptop that belonged to Muhammad Washah, an @AlJazeera journalist, was recovered by IDF in the northern Gaza Strip. It has pics proving he also serves as a senior Hamas military operative in the anti-tank missile array and in late 2022 he moved to work on R&D of aerial weapons for the organization,” Adraee tweeted.

“Intelligence analysis carried out on the computer includes photos linking subject to his Hamas activity,” he added.

In another tweet, Adraee explained, “It is clear from the documents that Mohamed Washah is a prominent commander in the anti-armor missile system in the wing. Hamas military. At the end of 2022, he moved to work in the field of research and development in the Hamas Air Force.”

In October, Al Jazeera was accused of endangering Israeli soldiers by exposing details of where forces were assembling, prompting the Cabinet to approve emergency regulations to temporarily shut down Al Jazeera operations in Israel.

The move received across-the-board support from the security and diplomatic establishment but was never implemented as Qatar emerged as a mediator between Israel and Hamas for a hostage swap.