Israel plans to close Al Jazeera’s office in Jerusalem and revoke media credentials of its journalists, the Communication Minister Ayoob Kara announced. Stating that the channel supported terrorism, he said that both its English and Arabic language channels would be taken off air in the Jewish nation.
While Al Jazeera has condemned the move, the Israel government said its decision was made in line with the decision made by several other Sunni Muslim nations that had banned the Qatar-based channel in the recent past.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had earlier accused the broadcaster of ‘incitement’ took to Twitter to congratulate Kara’s move.
Kara said that cable TV providers had agreed to take the channel off air, but closing its Jerusalem bureau would need further legislation.
Al Jazeera has become the main tool of Daesh [the Islamic State group], Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.Ayoob Kara, Israeli Communication Minister
Netanyahu had accused the TV channel of causing a recent crisis around Temple Mount in Jerusalem – known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif – where security measures imposed by Israel after the death of two policemen sparked protests by Palestinians, resulting in the eventual removal of the security apparatus.
An Al Jazeera official defended its coverage, saying it was "professional and objective", and further stated that 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".
Netanyahu had vowed to "expel Al Jazeera" in July for its reporting of the issue, which he said had incited violence.
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