Israel to Revoke Credentials, Close Local Operations of Al Jazeera
Israel to Revoke Credentials, Close Local Operations of Al Jazeera
The Al Jazeera newsroom in Doha Qatar. Image Jan Kuhlmann DPA PA Images
07 August, 2017, 01:12
Israel plans to revoke press credentials of Al-Jazeera TV journalists, close their Jerusalem bureau and pull the Qatar-based station's broadcasts from local cable and satellite providers, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said on Sunday.
Al-Jazeera "deplores" Israel's decision to close the broadcaster's offices in the Jewish state and will pursue the matter through legal channels, an official at the Doha-based news channel said Sunday.
There was no timetable given for the implementation of the measures.
Accusing Al Jazeera of incitement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed last month to shut down its Jerusalem bureau amid clashes between Israeli authorities and Palestinian worshipers over access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque site in Jerusalem's Old City.
Egypt banned the Al Jazeera network and several other websites that were critical of the government in May and broadcasts have also been blocked in the UAE.
Regional kingpin Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt broke ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of fostering extremism and later issuing 13 demands, including Al-Jazeera's closure.
"Al-Jazeera condemns this action on the part of a State that claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East", said to AFP this official, adding that the chain will be challenged in the justice of this measure, which he described as a "serious".
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Kara accused the station of "supporting terrorism" and said cable broadcasters had agreed to his proposal to take the station's Arabic and English channels off air. "I contacted the Public Security Minister in order to close the network's offices in Israel", Kara continued.
Mr Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to Mr Kara, "who on my instructions took concrete steps to end Al Jazeera's incitement".
Mr Netanyahu wrote on Facebook on 26 July that he wanted Al Jazeera expelled amid tensions over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.
The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories for global news organizations, said the move "is certainly a cause for concern". "Israel should abandon these undemocratic plans and allow Al-Jazeera and all journalists to report freely from the country and areas it occupies".
Palestinians refused to enter the site for almost two weeks over the new security measures imposed after three Israeli Arabs shot dead the policemen nearby.
Israel has regularly accused the broadcaster of bias in its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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