ISRAELI: Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party, has proposed imposing sanctions on the Israeli news publication Haaretz due to its coverage of the ongoing Gaza war.
The proposed sanctions, which would sever all ties between the Israeli government and Haaretz, include halting state employee subscriptions, advertisement agreements, and ceasing all communication with the newspaper.
Haaretz, a left-leaning publication offering content in both English and Hebrew, has been openly critical of the Israeli government.
In a letter to Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs, Karhi criticized Haaretz’s “offensive line,” accusing it of undermining the war’s objectives and disparaging the military’s efforts. He even alleged that some of Haaretz’s publications could be considered criminal under wartime penal codes.
In response, Haaretz has reinforced its commitment to independent journalism, promoting its subscription service with a message that challenges the government’s attempt to silence its reporting.
It is noteworthy that this move by the Israeli government follows Haaretz’s report on a tragic incident at the Supernova rave on 7 October, where an Israeli military helicopter shot civilians at the Supernova rave where Israel says 364 people were killed on 7 October.
However, the report does not specify the number of festival attendees who were killed or injured by the helicopter. The report also highlighted that Hamas fighters, who crossed into Israel that day, were unaware of the nearby music festival and only found out about it through drones and those flying in via parachutes.
The Union of Journalists in Israel and the Journalists’ Association of Jerusalem have expressed support for Haaretz, criticizing Karhi’s proposal as populist and devoid of logic. They emphasize that media companies in Israel have the right to operate freely under the law, without economic coercion based on their published opinions.
This sentiment was echoed by the Journalists’ Association of Jerusalem, which stated, ‘We can only emphasize that every media company in Israel has the right to exist according to law, without being subjected to economic siege because of the opinions it publishes”.
Karhi, who assumed his ministerial role in December 2022, has been known for his aggressive stance against the press. His actions include the closure of the West Bank offices of the Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen and an attempt to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel.
The attack by Hamas in Israel on 7 October resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths, mostly civilians, and led to the capture of about 240 hostages, including children and the elderly. In retaliation, Israel launched a severe bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza. According to the Hamas government, this response has resulted in over 15,000 deaths, many of whom are children.
After weeks of intense negotiations, led by Qatar and coordinated with the US and Egypt, an agreement was reached. This agreement stipulates the release of 50 civilian hostages from Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Additionally, it includes a four-day truce and provisions for access to humanitarian aid.
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