Israeli authorities withdraw decision to confiscate AP camera in Sderot

Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi ordered the initial decision to confiscate an Associated Press (AP) video camera in Sderot, near the Gaza Strip border, to be reversed.

According to Karhi, the equipment will be returned pending a decision by the Ministry of Defense, which intends to study the issue. The announcement comes amid widespread condemnation of the previous decision by media groups and criticism, including from Israel’s closest ally, the United States, notes Reuters.

Israel’s Communications Ministry said earlier on Tuesday that AP was transmitting footage to the Qatari television channel Al Jazeera, so it decided to take away the equipment. The basis was a document signed by Karhi. It said the broadcast violated media law.

Israeli Ministry of Communications clarifiedthat the Associated Press was warned last week not to provide material to Al Jazeera, but the agency continued to send footage.

A law passed in April allows the Israeli government to suspend foreign broadcasters for national security reasons. Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem office was closed, access to the site was blocked, and equipment was seized. Before that, Israeli authorities accused the channel of posing a security threat due to its coverage of the war in Gaza.

Associated Press condemned Israeli authorities’ decision to confiscate equipment. The White House called the incident disturbing and called Israeli authorities allow journalists to do their job.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid named confiscation of the camera is an act of insanity. “This is not Al Jazeera, this is an American media outlet that has won 53 Pulitzer Prizes,” he wrote on the social network X.

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