Al-Jazeera 'deplores' Israel decision to shut it down

Al-Jazeera 'deplores' Israel decision to shut it down

"Al-Jazeera has become the main tool of Daesh (the Islamic State group), Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran", Communications Minister Ayoob Kara, a member of the Druze community from Netanyahu's Likud party, told a news conference.

He said the broadcaster "will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures".

Ayoub Kara made the announcement on Sunday during a press conference, where he said that he meant to lodge a request to revoke credentials of all Al Jazeera journalists and close down the network's office in Jerusalem.

These Arab states accuse Qatar of backing terrorism and have demanded the shutdown of Qatari-funded Al Jazeera.

Three of those nations - Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt - already have banned Al Jazeera.

Israel plans to ban the Al Jazeera news network from the Jewish state, the communications ministry said Sunday.

However, Al Jazeera has denied such allegations and said that it is an independent media agency.




Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to "expel Al Jazeera" for inciting violence through its coverage of two policemen killed at the Temple Mount and the Israeli government's additional security at the site.

The Foreign Press Association, of which Al Jazeera journalists in Israel are members, said most have Government Press Office identification cards, which means they are government-vetted.

Al Jazeera correspondent reported that Israel is also seeking to shut down Al Jazeera's cable and satellite transmissions in the country. The site saw violent clashes in recent weeks.

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. That triggered protests which left six Palestinians dead.

The pan-Arab network's offices in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, however, would not be affected by the current Israeli move.

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".

Al Jazeera has met with accusations of anti-Israel bias and antisemitism for years. Under a decades-old agreement, only Muslims are allowed to pray inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, although anyone can visit, including Jews.

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