Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that Israel will work to prevent Al Jazeera TV from operating in Israel.
"Qatar ( the Gulf state where Al Jazeera is based) has turned into a global problem. Al Jazeera is a central pillar of the propaganda apparatus of Hamas," he said.
The news network employs several Israeli journalists. Freedom of the press is enshrined in Israeli law and, according to Anshel Pfeffer, a writer for the liberal daily Haaretz, only the Supreme Court could ban their reports.
Haaretz' diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid revealed the foreign minister's comments in which he said that, just as Britain would not allow Der Sturmer (a notorious Nazi publication) in London or the United States would not permit al-Qaeda TV, Israel would seek to ban Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera Arabic had earlier reported that Israel had been using phosphorus bombs in east Gaza, which it had pledged to stop using last year.
The company is also funded by Qatari owners, who Israel believe to be financing Hamas.
It is unknown whether the minister was alluding to the Al Jazeera English or Al Jazeera America arm of the company.
The media organisation has seen three of its journalists ‒ Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed ‒ imprisoned in Egypt under Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's newly-elected regime for spreading "false news".
Lieberman had earlier urged Israelis to boycott Arab businesses who were striking against the invasion of Gaza and the deaths of Palestinian civilians. He wrote on his Facebook page:
"I call upon everyone not to shop anymore at the stores and businesses of those among the Arab sector who are participating today in the general strike that was declared by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee as a sign of empathy for Gaza residents and against Operation Protective Edge."
Elsewhere, the Palestinian death toll surpassed 500 as Israel continued its ground and air offensive, according to Gaza's health ministry. Four were killed when Israeli fired at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
Seven IDF soldiers were revealed to have been killed in the last 24 hours, bringing the total Israeli military casualties to 25 and the overall death toll to 27. This is the highest IDF casualties since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
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