Israel Begins Process of Closing Al Jazeera Office Over Protests
Israel Begins Process of Closing Al Jazeera Office Over Protests
The Al Jazeera newsroom in Doha Qatar. Image Jan Kuhlmann DPA PA Images
07 August, 2017, 00:39
The country's communications minister Ayoub Kara said the country will block all the Qatar-based news station's Arabic and English channels and remove the press credentials of its journalists.
"Regimes that want to control power will nearly always go after two targets - the media and the foreigners", Rami Khouri of the American University in Beirut, said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to shut Al Jazeera offices in Jerusalem last week, accusing the news network of inciting violence in the city, most notably protests of increased security at the al-Asqa Mosque compound which Al Jazeera covered.
Apart from criticism from Israel, Al Jazeera has been accused by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain of supporting terrorism in the region.
Al Jazeera journalists have been arrested in Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan have shut down its offices in their respective countries.
"Al-Jazeera condemns this action on the part of a State that claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East", said to AFP this official, adding that the chain will be challenged in the justice of this measure, which he described as a "serious".
"I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem", Netanyahu said at the time.
An employee of the Qatar-based news network and TV channel Al- Jazeera is seen in the channel's Jerusalem office yesterday. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has likened its coverage to "Nazi Germany-style" propaganda.
"Al Jazeera stresses that it will closely watch the developments that may result from the Israeli decision, and will take the necessary legal measures towards it", it said in a statement. Journalists and representatives from Al Jazeera were not permitted to attend.
"The al-Jazeera channel continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount", he wrote in a Facebook post.
"Al Jazeera has become the main tool of Daesh [the Islamic State group], Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran", he told a news conference.
Netanyahu has, however, frequently criticized news media in general, accusing various outlets of seeking to undermine his government. Netanyahu had accused Al Jazeera of encouraging a recent crisis that took place around a holy site in Jerusalem known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.
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