Israel Plans to Close Local Al Jazeera Offices

Israel Plans to Close Local Al Jazeera Offices

Israel Plans to Close Local Al Jazeera Offices

Communications minister Ayoub Kara said that he wants to revoke press credentials from Al Jazeera reporters, which would prevent them from working in the country.

Al Jazeera said it was unclear when the Israeli government would act on Kara's request. No timetable for the measures was given.

Kara claimed that the station was used by militant groups to "incite" violence, accusing the network of "supporting terrorism" and saying that it was "delusional" that Arab states in the Middle East had banned Al-Jazeera for that reason but Israel had not.

"Al-Jazeera is surprised by the announcement of the Israeli minister of communications in his justification that the decision is consistent with what has been done by Arab countries. namely Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt", the Al-Jazeera official said in Doha.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan have closed Al Jazeera offices in recent months, while the channel's signal has been blocked in the United Arab Emirates. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has likened its coverage to "Nazi Germany-style" propaganda. You can not fool me with Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic.

"Freedom of expression is not freedom to incite", he said, according to a ministry statement.

In his news conference, to which Al Jazeera was not invited, Kara said steps had to be taken against "media, which has been determined by nearly all Arab countries to actually be a supporter of terror, and we know this for certain".

Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler, reporting from Jerusalem on Sunday, said that the request to revoke the credentials cover all the networks journalists in both the Arabic and English channels.

"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.

Netanyahu has, however, frequently criticized news media in general, accusing various outlets of seeking to undermine his government. "Since its inception, Al Jazeera has provided Israel with a rare conduit for airing its viewpoints to Arab and Muslim audiences and participating in dialogue with them".

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".

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