Israeli minister asks for closure of Al Jazeera's offices in Jerusalem

It was unclear when Minister Ayoub Kara's request would take effect
It was unclear when Minister Ayoub Kara's request would take effect
Author

07 August, 2017

Israel confirmed that it would revoke media credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and close the network's office in Jerusalem reports Al Jazeera news.

Ayoob Kara said he wanted the press cards of employees of the network revoked and to have their Jerusalem office closed, adding that he had asked cable providers to block Al-Jazeera's transmissions. No timetable for the measures was given.

The decision comes in wake of the recent statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wherein he had said that Al Jazeera was inciting violence and promoting terrorism.

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

Israel is moving ahead with efforts to shut Al Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau, as its security service assesses whether the Qatar-based broadcaster presents a significant threat to the Jewish state.

These countries have broken the 5 June with Qatar accusing it of supporting "terrorism" and require, among other things, to normalize their relations, the closure of Al-Jazeera.

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Al Jazeera has fiercely defended its reputation and says it is independent. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has likened its coverage to "Nazi Germany-style" propaganda. "Freedom of expression is not freedom to incite".

New security measures imposed by Israel after two policemen were killed nearby sparked protests by Palestinians, and the Israeli government eventually removed the security apparatus, which included metal detectors.

According to an article on Al-Jazeera, Rami Khouri from the American University in Beirut, said the plan was "very typical of regimes" in the region.

Mr Netanyahu accused the pan-Arab TV channel of fuelling a recent crisis around a holy site in Jerusalem known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

"Al Jazeera will continue to cover the events of the occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately, according to the standards set by global agencies, such as the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom)". He has frequently criticised the news media, accusing outlets of seeking to undermine his government.

Kara claimed that such extreme measures are ostensibly meant to improve journalistic practice in the country by creating "a situation that channels based in Israel will report objectively".


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