Israeli Officials Stop The Live Stream From Gaza And Confiscate Associated Press’ Equipment

( — Israeli officials on Tuesday seized the Associated Press’ live-feed camera and broadcasting equipment in southern Israel but swiftly reversed course on Tuesday night following blowback from the Western press.

Israel’s Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi rescinded his order and announced that the equipment would be returned to the Associated Press, pending a review by the Ministry of Defense.

Israeli officials initially shut down the AP’s live feed into Gaza under the new Al Jazeera law that granted the government temporary authority to prevent foreign news agencies from operating in Israel if their broadcasts were deemed a risk to national security.

After its equipment was seized, the Associated Press denounced the move and claimed that Israel was abusing its new Al Jazeera law. It demanded that the government allow the Associated Press to “reinstate our live feed immediately.”

Al Jazeera was one of the thousands of outlets that received the AP’s live video footage from Gaza. The Communications Ministry initially accused the Associated Press of harming national security by permitting Al Jazeera to have access to the live feed, claiming that the AP’s live-feed footage exposed troop movements in Northern Gaza.

However, after reviewing archived footage from the AP’s live feed, Israel’s Channel 12 concluded on Tuesday that the allegations were unfounded.

In a late-night about-face on Tuesday, Communications Minister Karhi announced that the decision to confiscate the equipment had been reversed.

Karhi said the equipment had been confiscated after the AP had received “repeated warnings” about transmitting the footage to Al Jazeera.

However, Karhi explained that the Israeli Defense Ministry “requested to re-examine” whether the live feed broadcasts posed a risk to Israeli forces.

In the meantime, Karhi said that he “ordered a cancellation of the operation” and that the equipment would be returned to the Associated Press pending a final decision by the Defense Ministry.

After Kahri’s reversal, Associated Press Vice President for Corporate Communications Laren Easton said while the AP was “pleased” with Karhi’s decision to return the equipment, the news service remained “concerned” over the government’s foreign broadcaster law “and the ability of independent journalists” to freely operate in Israel.

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