Israel to close Al Jazeera offices, take network off-air

Kristopher Drake
August 7, 2017

"The Al-Jazeera channel continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount", Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post on July 27, referring to the religious site in Jerusalem that is holy to both Muslims and Jews.

Israel has confirmed that it is seeking to shut down Al Jazeera's offices in Jerusalem and revoke the credential of its journalists, according to a statement by the Israeli communications minister.

Al Jazeera has fiercely defended its reputation and says it is independent.

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

The leader of Al-Jazeera has challenged israeli accusations of bias in the coverage of the events around the holy places of Jerusalem.

Kara added that he had asked Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan to use his powers to close the station's offices in Israel, although a spokesman for Erdan said he doubted the minister had the authority to do so.

Kara announced his intentions to request that the Government Press Office revoke Al Jazeera reporters within Israel of their press passes and to contact the cable companies, who expressed willingness on their part towards blacking out the news agency's broadcasts.

"Israel claims that it is the only democratic State in the Middle East and boast about it, but it follows, by its decision, that of dictatorial countries that do not recognize freedom of expression and freedom of information", stressed the head of Al-Jazeera.

"The prime minister is not too pleased with the constant incitement that you see and hear on Al Jazeera, a lot of it in Arabic".

The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories for worldwide news organizations, said the move "is certainly a cause for concern".

"Al Jazeera will continue to cover the events of the occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately, according to the standards set by worldwide agencies, such as the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom)".

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, also known as Adalah, also challenged the plan, saying that it would be subject to scrutiny before the Supreme Court, adding that "it would fail the test of legality".

Saudi Arabia leads four Arab countries, including Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which broke ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of fostering extremism and who later demanded Al-Jazeera's closure. The site saw violent clashes in recent weeks.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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