Israel Moves to Close Al Jazeera, Revoke Credentials of Its Journalists

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

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

Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara announced the plan to close Al-Jazeera at a Jerusalem news conference, accusing it of being a "tool" of the so-called Islamic State group, Shi'ite Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

Israel plans to block Al Jazeera broadcasts and close its local bureau over claims the channel is "supporting terrorism".

There was no timetable given for the implementation of the measures.

Israel's communications minister announced on Sunday that he wanted to shut down the operations of Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera in the country.

Jordan and Saudi Arabia have recently closed Al-Jazeera's local offices, while the channel and its affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

However, Israel has been consistently accusing Al Jazeera of featuring biased news stories related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

It also denied the charges its coverage of al-Aqsa Mosque unrest was unprofessional.

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). He said "Therefore, I have contacted the security echelon and have requested a professional opinion regarding the Al-Jazeera network".

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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.

The Israeli move adds further pressure on Qatar, which has been involved in a dispute with four of its Arab neighbours.

"Lately, nearly all countries in our region determined that Al-Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalization", Kara said.

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

"Changing the law in order to shut down a media organization for political reasons is a slippery slope", the executive secretary of Israel's Foreign Press Association, Glenys Sugarman, told the news agency Reuters.

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.

"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)".

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