Israel attempts to shut down Al Jazeera's office and ban journalists

Posted August 07, 2017

Israel plans to shut down Al Jazeera's Jerusalem office, stop transmitting its broadcasts and strip the Qatar-based channel's journalists of their credentials, the country's communications minister said Sunday.

"We have based our decision on the move by Sunni Arab states to close Al Jazeera offices and prohibit their work", Kara added.

The minister, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, gave no timetable for such measures.

The move follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call for the station's offices to be shut down, accusing it of inflaming tensions around Al-Aqsa mosque, the Jerusalem holy site where Palestinians staged an nearly two-week protest last month against Israeli security measures installed after a deadly shootout.

Jordan and Saudi Arabia have recently closed Al Jazeera's local offices, while the channel and its affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

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"Al Jazeera deplores this action from a state that is called the only democratic state in the Middle East and considers what it has done is risky", an unnamed official with Al Jazeera told the AFP.

These Arab states accuse Qatar of backing terrorism and have demanded the shutdown of Qatari-funded Al Jazeera.

Mr Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to Mr Kara, "who on my instructions took concrete steps to end Al Jazeera's incitement".

Israel announced on Sunday its intention to close the offices of Al-Jazeera, accused by the authorities of engaging in "incitement" to violence, announced that the israeli ministry of Communications.

Ayoub Kara alleged that the channel supported "terrorism", and said both its Arabic and English-language channels would be taken off air.

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"Democracy has limits", Kara said at a press conference in Jerusalem. He said "Therefore, I have contacted the security echelon and have requested a professional opinion regarding the Al-Jazeera network".

Arab Israelis, the descendants of Palestinians who stayed after the state of Israel was created in 1948, make up 17.5 percent of the country's population.

Al Jazeera has met with accusations of anti-Israel bias and antisemitism for years.

"Our coverage of events in the palestinian territories is professional and objective, and the Israelis have acknowledged a few times because we are keen to present the views and their opposites", he said.

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