Published: Mon, August 07, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Israeli Minister Threatens to Close Al Jazeera's Offices in Country

Israeli Minister Threatens to Close Al Jazeera's Offices in Country

Communications Minister Ayoob Kara said he plans to pull the Qatar-based station's broadcasts, revoke the press credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and close their Jerusalem bureau.

Jordan also closed Al Jazeera's offices.

While the proposal will not take immediate effect, Kara confirmed that both the Arabic and English versions of the news channel will be shuttered once the proposal is passed in the Knesset (Israel's parliament). You can not fool me with Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic.

Hen said that the GPO had also sent a request to the Israeli security agencies to assess the security risk of banning Al Jazeera and make its decision based on that.

Mr Kara said cable TV providers had agreed to take the network off the air, but that closing its Jerusalem bureau would need further legislation.

Ayoub said that Saudi Arabia and Egypt "have concluded that Al Jazeera incites terrorism and religious extremism".

An official at Al-Jazeera in Doha said the channel "deplores this action from a state that is called the only democratic state in the Middle East and considers what it has done is dangerous".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously threatened Al Jazeera over its coverage of violence and security measures at the Temple Mount-Noble Sanctuary compound.

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He was referring to recent violence in and around a Jerusalem site that is revered by Muslims and Jews in which six Palestinians and five Israelis, including two policemen, were killed.

Mr Kara, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, said: 'Lately, nearly all countries in our region determined that Al Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalisation.

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

The network's editor in Jerusalem has accused Mr Netanyahu of collusion with his autocratic Arab neighbours in an attack on free and independent media.

Al Jazeera says its journalists were barred from the press conference where the announcement was made.

Kara compared the ban to moves by Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf countries in the wake of a diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

'And when we see that all these countries have determined as fact that Al Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and we are the only one who have not determined that, then something delusional is happening here'.

The ministry added that it had become "ridiculous that the channel continued to broadcast from Israel".

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