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

07 August 2017, 01:28 | Marta Robbins

Image Cable broadcasters have agreed to take the channel off air

Employees of Qatar based news network and TV channel Al Jazeera are seen at their Jerusalem office

Israel plans to shut down Al Jazeera's Jerusalem office, stop transmitting its broadcasts and strip the Qatar-based channel's journalists of their credentials, the country's communications minister said Sunday.

"[We] will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures".

Israel's communications ministry said on Sunday that "nearly all countries in the region. have concluded that Al Jazeera incites terrorism and religious extremism".

Jordan and Saudi Arabia have 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.

Mr Netanyahu had accused the pan-Arab TV channel of fuelling a recent crisis around a holy site in Jerusalem known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

"I will go through the legislatory mechanism to create the authority in which I can act freely", Kara said.

According to the outlet, Kara also revealed his plans to revoke Al Jazeera reporters' press passes.

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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".

The ministry added that it had become "ridiculous that the channel continued to broadcast from Israel".

The news broadcaster denounced the country's decision in a statement shortly after.

Protests erupted at the contentious site after Israel last month installed new security measures including metal detectors, following the shooting dead of the two Israeli policemen by attackers who emerged from the compound. "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.

"Al-Jazeera had a big role conveying the Palestinian narrative with a high professionalism", said Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman.

Qatar's Arabic-language news channel first launched in 1996, and shook up the media landscape in the Middle East by airing criticisms of governments and rulers in the region. A Palestinian also broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank and stabbed four Israelis, killing three of them.

Kara claimed that such extreme measures are ostensibly meant to improve journalistic practice in the country by creating "a situation that channels based in Israel will report objectively".



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