Israel moves to ban Al Jazeera broadcasts, revoke press credentials


Israel has moved to revoke Al Jazeera journalists' press credentials and remove the network's broadcasts in Israel, Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said on Sunday.

Kara said that he has demanded the Government Press Office rescind the reporters' press cards and that he is working with cable and satellite providers to remove Al Jazeera's broadcasts in Israel. He added that he is seeking to close the bureau's Jerusalem office and is working on legislation to ban the network outright. "Freedom of expression is not freedom of incitement," he said in a statement.

The broadcaster said on Twitter that the actions would include both its Arabic and English channels.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Al Jazeera of inciting violence in a conflict over a Jerusalem holy site. Netanyahu said he had appealed several times to law enforcement authorities demanding the closure of Al Jazeera's Jerusalem office.

Al Jazeera, a main conduit for news from Israel to the Arab and Muslim world, extensively covered tensions in Jerusalem over Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The Doha-based network has been banned in several countries – including Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Syria – and has been accused of being a mouthpiece for Islamist groups, a charge Al Jazeera has denied.

Al Jazeera has been repeatedly accused of bias by Israeli authorities. Responding to Netanyahu's threat to close the network last month, Al Jazeera said it would "continue covering the news and events of the occupied Palestinian territories and elsewhere, both professionally and objectively."

Al Jazeera added that it "would take all necessary legal measures" if Israeli leaders act on their threat to shut it down.    (dpa)

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