Israel moves to shut down local operations of Al Jazeera

Israel moves to shut down local operations of Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler, reporting from Jerusalem on Sunday, said that the request to revoke the credentials cover all the networks journalists in both the Arabic and English channels.

"Al Jazeera deplores this action from a state that is called the only democratic state in the Middle East and considers what it has done is unsafe", an unnamed official with Al Jazeera told the AFP.

Mr Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to Mr Kara, "who on my instructions took concrete steps to end Al Jazeera's incitement".

Kara said cable TV providers agreed to take the network off the air but closing its Jerusalem bureau would need approval by the Knesset.

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The leader of Al-Jazeera has challenged israeli accusations of bias in the coverage of the events around the holy places of Jerusalem. Communications Minister Ayoob Kara said on Sunday that his office has formally proposed the shutdown, suggesting that it could help Israel improve relations with Gulf nations that have taken similar action. "This attack on Al Jazeera is really an attack on all critical independent journalism".

Mr Kara gave no timetable for the move but said he has asked cable and satellite networks to block Al Jazeera transmissions and is seeking legislation to ban them altogether.

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

"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.

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Israel is moving ahead with efforts to shut Al Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau, as its security service assesses whether the Qatar-based broadcaster presents a significant threat to the Jewish state.

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

"I have spoken several times to law-enforcement authorities demanding to close al-Jazeera's offices in Yerushalayim".

Al-Jazeera's local offices have been shut in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and the channel and affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain. The site saw violent clashes in recent weeks.

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"Al Jazeera will continue to cover the events of the occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately, according to the standards set by worldwide agencies, such as the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom)".

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