Al Jazeera has strongly condemned a recent statement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) forcing AJ + to register as a foreign agent, saying that the term appears to be a prerequisite for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). to “normalize” diplomatic ties with Israel.
In a letter dated Monday, the DOJ said AJ + should be subject to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and claimed that the outlet was carrying out “political activities” on behalf of the Qatar government.
AJ +, part of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network, produces videos for social media in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. With offices in Doha and Washington, DC, the FARA decision will only apply to AJ + English based in the United States.
In his case against Al Jazeera, Jay I Bratt, DOJ̵
“Journalism designed to influence American perception of a domestic policy issue or the activities of a foreign country or its management qualifies as ‘political activities’ under the statutory definition,” Bratt wrote.
The FARA appointment of AJ + follows relentless lobbying by the UAE government, which has long sought to pressure Qatar to close down the Al Jazeera Media Network.
In 2017, the United Arab Emirates, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed a blockade on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting extremism and promoting ties to Iran, allegations Qatar has vehemently denied.
At the start of the Gulf crisis, the blocking quartet issued a comprehensive list of demands that Qatar would have to comply with to have the blockade lifted, including the closure of Al Jazeera.
In a statement to the New York Times, Al Jazeera said: “The United Arab Emirates has confirmed that they presented the United States with the terms before announcing the Abraham agreements, and we received the DOJ’s letter the day before the United Arab Emirates signed the agreement,” with reference to the standardization agreement signed in the White House on Tuesday.
“Hobbling Al Jazeera was one of the biggest conditions for the UAE’s blockade against Qatar, and the Ministry of Justice just gave the United Arab Emirates what they wanted,” the statement said.
The Palestinians have criticized the normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain as a betrayal of Arab states, further undermining their efforts to achieve self-determination and leaving them isolated under a new framework of regional “peace” dictated by the Trump administration, which also sees Iran as evil.
The Palestinian leadership wants an independent state based on the de facto borders before the 1967 war, in which Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip and was annexed East Jerusalem.
Arab countries have long called for Israel’s withdrawal from already illegally occupied land, a just solution for Palestinian refugees and a solution that leads to the creation of a viable, independent Palestinian state in exchange for establishing ties to it.