Israel Begins Process of Closing Al Jazeera Office Over Protests

Trevor Jackson
Августа 7, 2017

Kara said he has asked cable and satellite networks to block Al Jazeera transmissions and is seeking legislation to ban them altogether.

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".

Mr Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to Mr Kara, "who on my instructions took concrete steps to end Al Jazeera's incitement".

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).

Al Jazeera's English newsroom in Doha, Qatar.

Kara made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday, which Al Jazeera reporters were barred from attending.

The israeli minister of Communications has motivated its decision by the fact that "in recent times, nearly all the countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, came to the conclusion that Al-Jazeera incites terrorism and religious extremism".

Al Jazeera has met with accusations of anti-Israel bias and antisemitism for years.

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The broadcaster "will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures", he added.

He said it is "delusional" that Arab states in the region banned the news network for that reason but Israel has not.

Kara, who is of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, said he wants to shut down pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera in the country because the station is allegedly used by militant groups to "incite" violence. Israeli authorities would also seek to limit access by the state's Arab citizens to the station's broadcasts in Arabic, the communications ministry statement said without elaborating.

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".

'I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem. "If this does not happen because of legal interpretation, I will work to enact the required legislation to expel Al Jazeera from Israel", Netanyahu added.

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.

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.

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